Home >  News >  August, 2014

Hospital Chain, Insurer Say No to Morcellation

University of Pittsburgh group won't do it, Highmark won't pay for it.

Published: August 4, 2014

The jury may still be out on whether banning the use of power morcellation in minimally invasive hysterectomies would help or harm more women in the long run, but a large hospital chain and a major insurer aren't waiting to find out.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has announced that it will suspend use of the procedure, which was the subject of an FDA advisory in the spring and the focus of continued FDA scrutiny in hearings held this summer. Meanwhile, insurer Highmark, Inc., one of the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan providers in the country, has announced that it will stop paying for the procedure after Sept. 1.

The controversy centers on the effect that power morcellation has on hidden sarcoma, a rare and largely undetectable form of uterine cancer. Morcellation, which breaks the uterus into small pieces that can be extracted laparoscopically, is likely to upstage the disease in women with undetected cancer.

However, estimates vary dramatically as to the number of women who have hidden sarcomas, with opposing extremes estimating as many as 1 in 350 and as few as 1 in every 6,400. Additionally, proponents of morcellation point out that open surgery is associated with much higher rates of morbidity and mortality; they further argue that prospects for women with hidden sarcomas are already grim.

Jason Wright, MD, director of gynecologic oncology at the Columbia University Medical Center in N.Y., and the lead author of an influential study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tells Outpatient Surgery Magazine that objective data on the pros and cons of morcellation is severely lacking and that the risks need to be quantified.

Jim Burger


Also in the News...

Music Is as Good as Sedative in Calming Nerves Before Surgery
Jury: Orthopedic Surgeon's Routine of Performing 14 Concurrent Surgeries a Day Negligent
Federal Court Dismisses More Than 5,000 Lawsuits Against 3M's Patient Warming System
Study Finds Sedation Method Doesn't Affect Adenoma Detection Rate
Negligence Suit: Reckless Intraoperative Neuromonitoring During Spinal Surgery Led to Deadly Catastrophic Hypoxic Brain Injury
Class Action: 600 Ex-employees Sue Laser Spine Institute for 2 Months of Pay and Benefits
Senator Creates Firestorm With Nurses Playing Cards Comment

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Brainlab Recalls Spine & Trauma 3D Navigation 1.0 Software Due to Display Inaccuracies

The class 1 recall applies to 60 U.S. systems.

Study Finds Sedation Method Doesn't Affect Adenoma Detection Rate

No significant difference between moderate or deep sedation in colonoscopy detection rates.

Jury: Orthopedic Surgeon's Routine of Performing 14 Concurrent Surgeries a Day Negligent

$2M verdict in 'assembly line' surgery case.