J&J halts sale of electric fibroid removal devices

Johnson & Johnson is halting sales of devices used to remove growths in the uterus following a government warning that the electronic surgical tools can inadvertently spread cancer to other parts of the body.

The announcement comes one week after the Food and Drug Administration discouraged doctors from using the devices, known as laparoscopic power morcellators. Surgeons use the devices to treat painful fibroids, either by removing the growths themselves or the entire uterus. The morcellators shred the tissue so it can be removed through a small incision in the abdomen.

The FDA said there is a significant risk that the devices can grind up undetected uterine tumors, spreading the to the pelvis and other regions.

J&J says its three power morcellators have always included language about this risk.

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