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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Finds Once-common Hysterectomy Technique Linked to Worse Uterine Cancer Outcomes

Every year, nearly 700,000 American women have surgery to remove their uterus (hysterectomy) or uterine fibroids (myomectomy). A laparoscopic surgical technique once commonly used in these procedures could be worsening the outcomes for women who have undiagnosed uterine cancer at the time of the procedure, reports a Yale-led study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the safety of the surgical technique, called uncontained uterine power morcellation, which involves the use of an electric device to fragment and remove uterine tissue through small incisions in the abdomen. The main concern was that the rapidly rotating cylindrical blade could spread cancer cells to the abdominal cavity if a patient has an undetected uterine cancer.

By linking data on hysterectomies and myomectomies performed in New York State between 2003 and 2013 with the New York State Cancer Registry data through 2015, the researchers identified women who had undetected uterine cancer at the time of their hysterectomy or myomectomy. They found that among women with undetected uterine sarcoma, especially leiomyosarcoma, a rare, aggressive subtype of uterine sarcoma, uncontained power morcellation was associated with a higher risk of death.

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