LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The FBI has launched an investigation into a surgical tool used to break up fibroids that may spread cancer in some women.
A doctor used the device called a morcellator on Amy Reed, a mother of six, to shred uterine fibroids so they can be removed through a tiny incision.
But, if like Reed, the fibroids contain a certain kind of cancer, the procedure can spread the malignancy.
“This type of cancer I said it’s like ink. Once you spill it, you can’t just go back and undo it,” Reed said.
Johnson & Johnson, which is the largest manufacturer of the device, stopped selling morcellators in July, and the FDA has since warned about the serious complication.
Johnson & Johnson did not return messages seeking comment, nor did the national office of the FBI.
But, according to the Wall Street Journal, federal agents have been calling patients and pathologists to ask about the device.
“We’ve known for a while that the morcellators do have risk,” said Peter Weiss, an attending physician at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.
He said he’s used the morcellator only sparingly because he’s always cautious about new technology.
“Anything that comes out new and it sounds wonderful and exciting, you have to always have a little bit of reservation until we have enough time lag to go back and say, ‘What really are the benefits? What really are the risks?’ ” he said.
Aetna announced it will no longer cover most procedures using the morcellator, and many surgeons won’t use it.