According to Nasdaq, the American health insurance company Aetna, Inc., will no longer cover routine procedures involving laparoscopic power morcellators. Aetna provides the nation’s third largest health care plan, with roughly 23 million members, and its decision not to cover routine morcellator operations will likely have a large impact on manufacturers of the device.
Power morcellators are a medical instrument used in minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, surgery. In laparoscopic procedures, power morcellators are inserted through small incisions to cut up large masses of tissue into pieces that can be extracted through the smaller incisions. The tool is especially popular in laparoscopic hysterectomies, where a woman’s uterus is removed through the abdomen. Power morcellators are considered an important tool for minimally invasive extraction of uterine fibroids. However, the device is now falling out of favor due to mounting evidence of dangerous side effects.
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the use of power morcellators. The agency urged surgeons not to use power morcellators in hysterectomies or myomectomies for uterine fibroids, stating that the device can spread unsuspected cancerous tissue to the abdomen and pelvis, increasing the likelihood of terminal cancer. Later that year, a Columbia University study estimated that 1 in 368 women have undiscovered uterine cancer at the time they undergo a gynecological procedure. As a result, surgeons may unknowingly be spreading cancer beyond the uterus in thousands of female patients every year.
Women diagnosed with cancer after laparoscopic surgery involving a power morcellator have filed power morcellator lawsuits. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that manufacturers of power morcellators, such as Johnson & Johnson, knew of the health risks posed by their devices but failed to adequately warn doctors and patients, in some cases concealing important information.
Always consult your doctor or physician about any potential risks a surgical procedure might involve. If you or someone close to you was diagnosed with cancer after a power morscellator procedure, contact the attorneys at Lopez McHugh today for a free consultation. You may be eligible to pursue compensation through a power morcellator lawsuit.