Public comments are due this week on whether devices known as power morcellators should continue to be used in minimally invasive hysterectomies and surgical removal of uterine fibroids. The Food and Drug Administration will review the comments and decide whether to take regulatory action.
While the devices have been around for decades, there are new questions about whether their use increases the risk of spreading undiagnosed and unsuspected cancer in patients. It's unclear what percentage of patients are at risk. Estimates range from 1 in 350 to 1 in 7,400. “It's difficult for the FDA to make a definite recommendation with incomplete data,” said Dr. Jubilee Brown, a gynecological oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.