Johnson & Johnson is urging surgeons not to use a surgical tool that has been found to spread certain forms of uterine cancer in women, the company said Wednesday.
Sales of the company’s laparoscopic power morcellators, used during hysterectomies and fibroid-removal surgery, were halted in April because of a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA told members of the medical community that the device could spread a form of uterine cancer called sarcoma in patients, lowering chances of survival.
Two recent studies — from the FDA and researchers at Columbia University — found that around 1 in 350 women has undetected cancer when being treated for fibroids; for women having hysterectomies, the risk is around 1 in 368.
Because of this, Johnson & Johnson is now expanding its pullback of the device, urging those who have purchased the device to return it. The Wall Street Journal reports the company originally stood by the tool, but now says the risk of spreading the cancer is more significant than previously believed. Though sales of the device are only a small part of Johnson & Johnson’s business, according to the Journal, the company represents about 72% of the market for this particular device.