The use of power morcellators in hysterectomy and fibroid removal surgery may be associated with the spread and upstaging of leiomyosarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of uterine sarcoma. If leiomyosarcoma cells lie undetected in uterine tissue and fibroids prior to such procedures, morcellation can spread the malignancy into a woman’s peritoneal cavity and beyond. Dissemination of these cancer cells beyond the uterus may greatly reduce a woman’s odds of long-term survival.

Filing a Power Morcellator Lawsuit Can Help

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is offering free, no-obligation legal reviews to women who were diagnosed with advanced leiomyosarcoma following uterine morcellation. If you or a woman you love were harmed by a power morcellator, please call (888) 994-5118 to learn more about filing a leiomyosarcoma lawsuit.

Power Morcellator Litigation Updates

  • October 2015: The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) establishes a multidistrict litigation for all federally filed Ethicon morcellator lawsuits involving the dissemination of undiagnosed uterine cancers in the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas. Read More
  • September 2015: The JPML has agreed to hear oral arguments on a motion seeking the creation of all federally-filed morcellator cancer lawsuits. More than 20 such claims are currently pending against Ethicon, Inc., Karl Storz, Gyrus ACMI and Richard Wolf Medical Instruments. Arguments on the matter are scheduled for October 1st in New York City. Read More
  • July 2015: Plaintiffs in power morcellator lawsuits are seeking to have all federal cases consolidated in a multidistrict litigation and transferred to a single federal court. However, device manufacturers are opposed to such a move. Read More
  • July 2015: A leiomyosarcoma lawsuit against power morcellator manufacturer Lina Medical ApS has been settled for an undisclosed amount. The case, which had been pending in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, had been filed on behalf of a widower whose wife had died in February 2013, just 11 months after she had undergone a morcellator hysterectomy. Her husband had alleged that the morcellator used in her surgery had disseminated undetected leiomyosarcoma cells present in her uterus.  The lawsuit was one of the first to involve such allegations, and had been scheduled to go to trial in November 2015. Read More

What is a Power Morcellator?

During minimally invasive hysterectomies and myomectomies (fibroid removal), power morcellators are used to shred uterine tissue into small pieces so that it can be removed via an abdominal incision. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) estimates that 11% of laparoscopic hysterectomies are performed via uterine morcellation, which amounts to about 55,000-75,000 procedures annually.

FDA Morcellator Warnings

  • November 2014: The FDA advises that power morcellators should not be used on a majority of women who require hysterectomies and myomectomies because of the potential to disseminate undetected uterine cancer cells. Among other things, the agency pointed out that screening for uterine malignancies prior to surgery is unreliable, and noted that a woman’s odds of long-term survival are greatly reduced if these cancers are allowed to spread beyond the uterus. The FDA also orders morcellator manufacturers to add new black box warnings to their product labels.
  • April 2014: An FDA alert discourages doctors from using power morcellators in hysterectomies and myomectomies. According to the agency, 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids is found to have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer that includes leiomyosarcoma.

What is Leiomyosarcoma?

A uterine leiomyosarcoma is a rare malignant tumor that arises from the smooth muscle lining the walls of the uterus. Symptoms of this cancer can vary from case to case depending upon the exact location, size and progression of the tumor, and may include:

  • A lump or swelling
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • Swelling or pain in any area of the body
  • Bleeding from the vagina in post-menopausal women
  • Change in periods for women who are pre-menopausal
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Change in bladder or bowel habits
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • General feeling of ill health

Legal Help for Victims of Leiomyosarcoma

Victims of leiomyosarcoma spread and upstaged via a power morcellator may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, and other damages. To learn if you qualify to file a leiomyosarcoma lawsuit against the manufacturer of the morcellator used in your surgery, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. FDA (November 2014) “FDA warns against using laparoscopic power morcellators to treat uterine fibroids” http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm424435.htm
  2. FDA (April 2014) “Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy: FDA Safety Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm393576.htm
  3. NORD (2015) “Uterine Leiomyosarcoma” https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/uterine-leiomyosarcoma/
Last Modified: February 24, 2016

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