While power morcellators have succumbed to a backlash among the medical community and patients who suffered from their dangerous consequences, such as spreading unknown cancer, robot-assisted surgeries have been shown to pose additional risks. A new retrospective study conducted by researchers from three prominent university medical centers analyzed adverse event data from the FDA and found that 144 of 10,000 patients studied passed away in a 14 year period after undergoing robotic surgery.
Power morcellators are tools doctors use to perform minimally invasive surgeries in women to remove uterine fibroids. Often used in hysterectomies, morcellators grind up uterine tissue to be removed through a small incision in the abdomen. In the recent past, however, morcellators have been linked to spreading aggressive cancer in women that had not been detected preoperatively. The aforementioned study supports the claims of many plaintiffs citing robot-assisted power morcellation was to blame for their loved ones’ deaths. One such lawsuit—the first of its kind in the country—was recently settled, filed by the husband of a 53-year old woman who died following her robot-assisted hysterectomy using a power morcellator. Morcellators remain controversial, and the device was even given a “black box” warning by the FDA, but unfortunately the tools have not been completely removed from the market.