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Study Tallies Cancer-Spread Risk of Procedure

A study has provided new estimates of the risk that one surgical technique to remove the uterus might spread an undetected cancer. The study looked at morcellation. This technique uses a power cutter to slice the uterus into tiny pieces. Sometimes hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is done through several small incisions instead of one large incision. The surgeon views the area through a tool called a laparoscope. Cutting up the uterus with morcellation allows removal through the small incisions. But in some cases, undetected cancers have been cut up at the same time. This has allowed cancer to spread to other organs. In April, the Food and Drug Administration discouraged use of this procedure. The new study looked at insurance data for 230,000 hysterectomies. All were done using the less invasive procedure with small incisions. About 36,000 used morcellation.

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