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Community Health: Education, Prevention & Inspiration

FDA Discourages the Use of Laparoscopic Power Morcellation During Hysterectomy or Myomectomy for Uterine Fibroids

Many women choose to undergo laparoscopic hysterectomy (removing the uterus) or myomectomy (removing uterine fibroids) in the treatment of uterine fibroids. Laparoscopic surgeries tend to be less invasive, are associated with shorter post-operative recovery time, and reduced risk of infection compared to abdominal hysterectomy and myomectomy.

Morcellation is the process of dividing tissue into smaller pieces or fragments and is often used during laparoscopic surgeries to aid in removing tissue through small incision sites. Laparoscopic power morcellators are medical devices which are used during some types of laparoscopic surgeries.

In April 2014, the FDA issued a statement discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids as when this procedure is used in women with uterine fibroids, laparoscopic power morcellation poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, specifically uterine sarcomas, within the abdomen and pelvis. Based on current data, it is estimated that 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids is found to have an unsuspected cancerous tissue. It goes without saying that the spreading of cancerous tissue significantly decreases the patient's likelihood of long-term survival.

As there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discourages the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids.

If you are seeking treatment for uterine fibroids:

  • Discuss all the options available to treat your fibroids as well as the risks and benefits of each with your health care provider.
  • If laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy is recommended, ask your health care provider if power morcellation will be performed during your procedure.

To read more about this procedure and the current FDA recommendations: