Laparoscopic power morcellators are medical devices that are used during different types of surgery such as removing uterine fibroids (myomectomy) and removing the uterus (hysterectomy). This procedure was designed to be less invasive by having the morcellator cut the uterine tissue into smaller pieces which could be removed at small incision sites.
On April 17, 2014, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about this procedure. The FDA estimated at 1 in 350 undergoing a hysterectomy or myomectomy was subsequently found to have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma. The FDA warned that
“If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival. For this reason,and because there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discourages the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids.”