Uterine fibroids are usually benign tumors, which occur within the uterus. These tumors can cause pain, infertility and excessive vaginal bleeding. Therefore when they become unmanageable, they are often removed.
Traditionally, the tumors are removed using standard surgical techniques. This may or may not involve a laparoscope, which is a kind of periscope through which the surgeon can see and operate.
Fairly recently, a device called a morcellator was introduced. Apart from the strange sounding name, this device essentially grinds up the fibroids . The ground up tissue is then suctioned out of the uterus through a tiny hole. The morcellator was billed as a less invasive technique than what was previously done.
However, like many claims, the technique had issues. A small percentage of fibroids are cancerous. If the ground up tissue through the hole in the uterus ends up in the abdominal cavity, the cancer could be easily spread. At first this was a theoretical concern, conveniently forgotten by company representatives, who sold quite a few of these devices.
However, after several documented cases of cancer spread after this procedure, the device use now has been discouraged in most procedures by the official gynecological organization. It is now only recommended for procedures in younger patients, for whom the cancer risk is felt to be low.
Some have argued that there is simply no place for a device, which has the potential for spreading undiagnosed uterine cancer. If you are considering removal of uterine fibroids, be sure to ask your gynecologist about what options are available. I would definitely think twice about using such a device.