• Power Morcellator Endorsed by Surgeon Receiving Fees from Manufacturer
  • March 23, 2015
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that the power morcellator medical device, which surgeons were using in large numbers in hysterectomies, had been associated with a risk of spreading cancer cells during the procedure. A month later, the AAGL — a group of gynecologic laparoscopists — issued a counter-report claiming that power morcellation is safe when performed by the right surgeon.

    Surgeon Who Participated in AAGL Report Endorsing Morcellation Paid $50,000 by Medical Device Seller

    The report was influential for many doctors who were undecided about whether to continue performing power morcellation. After reading the AAGL’s endorsement, some hospital administrators were persuaded to continue offering the procedure. What physicians reading the AAGL report did not realize is that an AAGL executive officer who participated in the report’s creation had taken consulting fees from a power morcellator maker.

    Although some AAGL leaders reportedly viewed the participation of New York surgeon Arnold Advincula as a clear conflict of interest, that did not prevent Advincula’s contribution to the report or its issuance by the group. Advincula admits to receiving at least $50,000 in compensation for speaking engagements and other services from Blue Endo, which sells morcellators.

    Power morcellation is a procedure in which a surgeon cuts up tissue and removes it from the body through small incisions as opposed to taking it out through the vagina, the traditional method. When undetected cancer is present, the morcellation can spread the cancer cells, causing the woman’s health to worsen. Many hospitals no longer use power morcellators and Johnson & Johnson, the leading manufacturer of the medical devices, no longer makes them.