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Home E-Weekly December 1, 2015

Is Power Morcellation a Bigger Problem Than We Thought?

Published: November 30, 2015

The risk of power morcellation performed on women with undetected cancer is higher than research has previously established, according to a new study.

The use of power morcellation during fibroid surgery has been a hot button issue, with the FDA warning last year that the practice may spread undetected cancers. Though some studies have suggested that this possibility is very low, researchers from Boston Medical Center have found that the risk of morcellating cancer is much higher than previously understood.

In their study, they analyzed 19,500 women who underwent laparoscopic hysterectomies or myomectomies to determine how frequently the patients were diagnosed with cancer after undergoing surgery for a problem thought to be benign. Their review of the data found that 1 in 352 women had unsuspected cancer at the time of their gynecologic surgery.

The study also found that more than half of the patients who were diagnosed with uterine cancer or endometrial hyperplasia post-operatively did not undergo endometrial testing prior to surgery. These findings suggest that physicians must improve how they evaluate patients before they undergo procedures with power morcellation, the study's authors write.

"We are continually seeking opportunities to move gynecologic surgery forward," says Rebecca Perkins, MD, the lead author. "Because minimally invasive surgery has many advantages, future research should seek to improve techniques to create safer procedures for women."

Kendal Gapinski

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