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Transcript - Power Morcellators - May Spread Cancer in Uterine Surgeries

Johnson & Johnson announced a worldwide recall of its Power Morcellators due to the ability of the device to spread undetected malignant cancer during uterine surgeries. Johnson & Johnson is asking doctors to return all Power Morcellators, sold by the company’s Ethicon subsidiary. Power Morcellators, first approved by the FDA in 1995, are used to perform hysterectomies and myomectomies, or the surgical removal of fibroids from the uterine.

It is estimated that over 600,000 women a year undergo these surgeries. Laparoscopic power morcellation was developed as an alternative to invasive surgery. This procedure uses a power device to grind uterine tissue so it can be removed through a tiny incision. It is used in about 60,000 procedures annually.

Traditional surgical methods are not known to spread undetected cancer. However, the Power Morcellator, which grinds tissue during surgery, can cause the spread of malignant cancerous tissue to other parts of the body. The FDA estimates 1 in every 350 women undergoing hysterectomies and myomectomies had uterine cancer that was undetected until after the procedure.

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