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Device recall means tougher surgeries

The Philadelphia Inquirer / Bloomberg, August 12, 2014
The recall of a medical device commonly used in hysterectomies means as many as 50,000 women who get the procedures each year will face more invasive options. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that power morcellators, used to shave uterine tissue into tiny pieces that can be extracted through tiny abdominal incisions, may also spread hidden cancer into other parts of the body. Johnson & Johnson, the largest maker of the devices, withdrew them from the market two weeks ago. In addition, Highmark Inc., one of the country's largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan insurers with 5.2 million customers across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware, said it will stop coverage of laparoscopic power morcellation, effective Sept. 1, according to several news reports.