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J&J Pulls Hysterectomy Tool Tied to Cancer Risk

Controversial device had been used for minimally invasive hysterectomies, uterine fibroid removal

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A study published just last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association more clearly pinpointed the risk of spreading cancer if morcellation was used to remove the uterus in a laparoscopic hysterectomy. The researchers noted that the risk was higher for older women.

Women who already have undergone power morcellation don't need to get a cancer screening, because some of the tissue removed during the procedure would have been sent for pathologic analysis, Maisel said. If cancer had been detected, they would have been informed, he added.

"We think that most women who have undergone these procedures require routine care," he said. "If they don't have any ongoing or recurrent symptoms, they should be fine."

Women who need a hysterectomy or fibroid removal can still undergo traditional or laparoscopic surgery, just without the use of a power morcellator, Maisel said.

The FDA approved the first power morcellator for use in 1995, Maisel said.

The medical community has been aware of the risk of cancer spread during power morcellation since the devices came onto the market, Maisel said, but "the magnitude of the risk appears to be higher than what was appreciated in the clinical community."

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