Posted on Apr 01, 2014

There has been much debate about how surgeries that could cause or worsen cancer should be conducted. Two renowned hospitals have decided to change their surgery techniques to get more effective results and enhance safety.

ABC news reports on the change in cancer surgeries. 

A couple of Boston hospitals have changed their surgery techniques and policies in hysterectomies to enhance safety and hopefully attain beneficial results.

ABC news explains, “The technique, called morcellation, is characterized by a surgeon shredding tissue, usually fibroids or the uterus during a laparoscopic hysterectomy, that is then usually removed through a small incision in the abdomen. Both Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are changing guidelines about when to use morcellation just months after learning of at least two medical cases where women had undetected cancer spread into their abdomen following the procedure.”

Cancer can spread in the body if the tissue being operated on is cancerous.

New studies have not been able to clearly show whether the cancer will definitely disseminate but it is likely given that there have been women in which this effect has already occurred. However one or two studies do claim that the risk is low.

The change in policy came after some patients experienced issues with the surgery. “The most high-profile case involved Dr. Reed, an anesthesiologist at Beth-Israel Hospital in Boston, who had a laparoscopic hysterectomy with morcellation. Reed, 41, had undetected cancerous cells that were spread throughout her abdomen after the procedure. She is now being treated for Stage IV cancer. Two medical articles questioning the safety of the technique were also published in the Journal of American Medical Association earlier this year. After reviewing the cases, both Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital will allow morcellation only in cases where there is a very low chance of a cancer occurrence,” according to ABC.

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Gerry Oginski
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