When a woman has uterine fibroids, she may be advised to have surgery: either a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or myomectomy (removal of the fibroid). During a laparoscopic surgery, doctors once thought it was ok to use a power morcellator, a tool that help surgeons divide and break up tissue into smaller pieces. This helped doctors easily remove your fibroid tissue through a small surgical incision.
While this idea is good in theory, we now know that this tool has been found to spread cancer cells throughout your body. In fact, the FDA has warned against the use of power morcellators.
Why is Morcellation Dangerous?
When women undergo either a hysterectomy or myomectomy, they may also have malignant uterine sarcoma, an aggressive type of cancer that is fatal once it spreads. Because of the rapidly spinning blades on the power morcellator, malignant cells can be spread to other areas inside the abdomen.
Previous data suggested that 1 in every 10,000 women who undergo myomectomy or hysterectomy has an undiagnosed uterine sarcoma, but newer findings suggest that number is actually closer to 1 in 350. This discovery makes morcellation even more dangerous than originally thought.
Is There a Way to Make Morcellation Safer?
While some surgeons suggest that the use of containment bags will help minimize the unwanted spread of tissue, this method isn’t completely safe–after all, these bags can break!
Because of all the potential risks, there is currently no way to make morcellation safe. It is nearly impossible to diagnose a sarcoma that is hidden by a fibroid tumor, so it is far safer for surgeons to avoid performing this procedure.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization: A Non-Surgical Option
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is performed by an interventional radiologist and blocks blood flow to the uterine fibroids, thus causing the tumors to shrink. No incisions are needed and the uterus remains completely intact. Patients leave the office without sutures and are able to go home the same day. And, because no surgery is necessary, there is no risk of spreading dangerous cancer cells to other parts of your body!
To learn more about UFE, schedule a consultation with Houston Fibroids.