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...

Philly Eye Facility Adds 4 Inpatient Beds, Insists It's Now a Hospital
Doc No Longer Facing Drug-Theft Charges, But Hospital That Accused Him in Hot Water
A Colonoscope You Won't Have to Reprocess
Simethicone in Scopes Could Pose Infection Risk
Clinic Where Joan Rivers Was Stricken Sues Its Insurance Carrier
How Well Do PONV Predicting Systems Work?
Is Medicare Ready to Reimburse Outpatient Knee Replacement?

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

News & Notes

Certification Should Be Required, Say Sterile Processing Pros

Survey also finds a strongly perceived lack of respect.

Wireless Sensor in Implants May Help Battle Against SSIs

Device would detect presence of pathogenic antigens.