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Medical Malpractice

Health Alert: The Danger of Fibroid Surgery

April 21, 2014 | Michael Barasch

In the United States, hysterectomy is the second most common surgery undergone by women. For some women, a now-common method of hysterectomy could be a death sentence. 

Amy Reed is a 40-year old Boston surgeon with a young family and thriving medical practice. She also has Stage four cancer and an 85 percent chance of death within five years. 

In autumn 2013, Ms. Reed underwent a hysterectomy to end persistent bleeding and remove fibroid growths. Hysterectomy is removal of the uterus. The uterus and fibroids of Ms. Reed were removed through a process called morcellation

Morcellation is the use of a knife or spinning blade during laparoscopic surgery to incise and mince tissue within the abdominal cavity. The tissue and the instruments are then removed through the small laparoscopic incisions. 

Unfortunately, not all tissue can be removed. Recent research suggests the procedure poses risks to women with undetected cancer. Risks include: 

  • Cancer in fibroid growths cannot be detected prior to surgery. Grinding tissue within the abdomen seeds the abdominal cavity with the tissue.
  • The spray of fibroid tissue within the abdomen, even if benign, can cause painful fibroid growths on the bowel and other internal organs, creating the need for additional surgery.
  • Morcellation can nick and cut internal organs and tissue. 

While hysterectomy via laparoscopic morcellation is less invasive, causes less blood loss and allows a shorter recovery period, it poses a potentially deadly risk. Health care professionals acknowledge most women do not receive enough information on the procedure to provide informed consent. 

If you, or a loved one, is considering hysterectomy, be informed. If you are injured due to medical misinformation or negligence in New York, talk to an established injury attorney for advice. 

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