Master Class

Moving toward safer morcellation techniques


For minimally invasive surgeons throughout the world, particularly in the United States, as well as the patients we treat, April 17, 2014, is our day of infamy. It was on this day that the Food and Drug Administration recommended against the use of the electronic power morcellator. The basis of the agency’s decision was the concern about inadvertent spread of sarcomatous tissue. Many hospitals, medical centers, and hospital systems subsequently banned the use of power morcellation. With such bans, a subsequent study by Wright et al. noted a decrease in the percentage of both laparoscopic and vaginal hysterectomy (JAMA. 2016 Aug 23-30;316[8]:877-8). This is concerning when you consider that the complication rate for abdominal hysterectomy is around 17%, compared with about 4% for the minimally invasive procedure.

Dr. Charles E. Miller

Dr. Charles E. Miller

Despite a call for improved diagnostics, over the past 3 years, there has been virtually no change in our ability to diagnose a sarcomatous mass. Thus, the ability to minimize the spread of tissue is of paramount importance.

For this edition of the Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery, I have asked Tony Shibley, MD, to describe the PneumoLiner, the first FDA-approved bag for the purpose of contained laparoscopic morcellation. Dr. Shibley, who is in private practice in the Minneapolis area, first came to national attention because of his expertise in single-port surgery. He has been performing power morcellation in a contained system for 5 years and is the thought leader behind the design and creation of the PneumoLiner.

Dr. Miller is clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and past president of the AAGL and the International Society for Gynecologic Endoscopy. He is a reproductive endocrinologist and minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in private practice in Naperville and Schaumburg, Ill.; director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and the director of the AAGL/SRS fellowship in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill.; and the medical editor of this column, Master Class. He reported receiving research funds from Espiner Medical Inc., and being a consultant to Olympus, which manufacturers the PneumoLiner.

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VIDEO: Tips for performing contained power morcellation

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