AVON — On April 17 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration released a safety notification discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellators for the removal of the uterus or uterine fibroids.  Laparoscopic power morecellation is one of several available treatments that employs a medical device to divide the uterine tissue into smaller pieces or fragments to be removed through small incisions from the abdomen.

The FDA determined that approximately one in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival. 

Women’s Health Connecticut, which employs 210 OB/GYN physicians, has agreed to stop using the laparoscopic morcellator. According to Medical Director Daniel Gottschall: “There are multiple alternatives to morcellation. It is important for our patients to know their surgical options and ask about alternatives.” Women’s Health Connecticut’s gynecologists perform more than 1,500 minimally invasive hysterectomies and fibroid removals each year in 18 hospitals in Connecticut.