Power morcellators are surgical devices used during laparoscopic and robotic procedures such as hysterectomies or myomectomies to remove tissue from the body. The devices work by breaking the tissue into smaller pieces that are vacuumed out of the body. However, if this tissue contains previously undiagnosed cancer, the fragmentation technique of the power morcellators can spread the cancer throughout the uterus, facilitating rapid and increased metastization.
The Food and Drug Administration released a Safety Advisory in April 2014 on the serious side effects caused by power morcellation. In July 2014, one of the main manufacturers of the device, Johnson & Johnson, issued a recall of its product, although several manufactuers including Lumenis Ltd., LiNa Medical, Karl Storz, and Smith & Nephew still have their products on the market. Lawsuits against the several manufacturers are starting to be filed in a variety of venues across the county, and, due to the serious nature of the side effects caused by power morcellation, many are expected to follow.