Tag Archives: leiomyomata

FDA discourages power morcellation for #fibroids

Last month, the New York Times blog published a piece about the dangers of laparoscopic power morcellation – a technique used to remove the uterus or uterine fibroids. The author, Jane Brody explained it this way:

The technique involves insertion of a tiny instrument with a rapidly rotating blade, the morcellator, that breaks up the fibroid so that it can be sucked out through the small opening of a laparoscope.

The grotesque image that comes to mind is that of a food processor. I won’t elaborate, but the technique is designed to allow large tissue to be extracted through small incisions. This is ostensibly less invasive and allows for faster healing.

Brody continued:

As recent reports have shown, however, power morcellation can also cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. … This problem is all the more serious if the fibroid that was morcellated happens to have contained a hidden cancer

Today the FDA released guidance which doesn’t halt, but does discourage the technique. From their press release:

Based on an analysis of currently available data, the FDA has determined that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.

Read the full release here.

Read about the previously reported risks here.

 

Sunshine and fibroids.

Naturopaths and nontraditional healers often mention the healing properties of sunshine. And depending on where and how we grew up, our parents and grandparents spoke of it, too. My personal relationship with the sun has always been one of respect and admiration… my mood and energy levels often mirror the brightness of the sun. So it pleases me whenever “traditional” research makes linkages between sunshine and good health.

Dr. Donna Baird, a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health, suggested that sun exposure of more than an hour per day (Vitamin D) may lead to a decreased risk of fibroids. The results are tentative, and come from a single study of women in the Washington, D. C. area, but plans are underway to survey women in Detroit to see if findings are similar.

As one in a growing number of women who live with uterine fibroids, I’m interested in understanding their causes. Like many complex questions, the more we understand about the genesis of a thing, the more we can do to heal it and prevent it.

Read the NIH press release here.