A surgical device commonly used in hysterectomies has the potential to spread more types of cancer in a woman's body than previously thought, new research released Tuesday shows.
The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association also reinforces an earlier government assessment that use of the device, a laparoscopic power morcellator, is risky.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration advised doctors to stop using morcellators for removing fibroids in the uterus. The agency concluded the device could spread previously undetected cancerous tissue inside the body, significantly worsening the patient's odds of survival.
The new study by Columbia University doctors found that 1 in 368 women undergoing hysterectomies have a hidden uterine cancer that is at risk of being spread by a morcellator. Significantly, the research examined the records of a much larger group of women than the FDA did in its main analysis.
Many gynecologists disputed the FDA data and its assessment of the device's danger. The agency held a two-day hearing on the issue earlier this month and is expected to decide this year whether to restrict or even ban use of morcellators.