At the 2018 Pelvic Anatomy and Gynecologic Surgery Symposium meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tommaso Falcone, MD, Chief of Staff, Chief Academic Officer, and Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic London, England, addressed the status of tissue morcellation in hysterectomy and myomectomy after several years’ controversy—noting that the specialty’s professional societies all support use of the technique, with precautions and in selected patients.
Should electromechanical (‘power’) morcellation of tissue be a tool for performing minimally invasive hysterectomy and myomectomy? If so, what are the risks and benefits of using this tool, first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995?
The matter came under intense scrutiny and debate in 2014 as concerns rose about the potential of power morcellation to disseminate intraperitoneal malignancy in women with occult cancer (an estimated 1 in 370 women who undergo power morcellation during a minimally invasive hysterectomy have uterine cancer1). Early that year, the FDA moved to strongly discourage use of power morcellators for removing uterine fibroids.2
The aftermath, however, was that there were problems with the FDA’s  statement, Dr. Falcone pointed out. In a study by Siedhoff and colleagues of a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 women with fibroids, for example, an abdominal approach resulted in more hysterectomy-related deaths and surgery-related complications than did a laparoscopic procedure with morcellation.3
Balancing risks and benefits of MIS
After continuing study of the risks presented by morcellation, the question today is: How do we balance preventing dissemination of cancer against diminishing the significant benefits of minimally invasive surgery, as surgical technique has been modified to avoid morcellation—including, Dr. Falcone said, by increased use of mini lap (i.e., extending the laparoscopy incision) tissue extraction, decreased use of supracervical hysterectomy, and a move to open approaches.
In fact, Dr. Falcone noted, power morcellation is banned in many institutions, having been replaced by scalpel, extraperitoneal, or in-bag morcellation. Last year, after further analysis, the FDA reiterated its recommendation against use of power morcellators to remove fibroids in most women.4
Continue to: Morcellation decisions