A myomectomy is a surgical procedure in which uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths in the uterus, are removed. The procedure is related to a hysterectomy. However, a myomectomy leaves the uterus intact, while a hysterectomy results in the removal of part or all of the uterus.
In a myomectomy, a surgeon takes out fibroids that are causing symptoms and reconstructs the uterus. Thus, a myomectomy is often the preferred option for patients who wish to have children in the future.
No increased risk of uterine cancer is associated with uterine fibroids. Fibroids almost never develop into cancerous tumors. Many women who have fibroids suffer no symptoms from them at all. For women who do experience symptoms, they can be influenced by the location, size, and number of the fibroids.
The following are the usual indications that a woman has uterine fibroids:
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation;
- Menstrual periods that last for over a week;
- Feelings of pelvic pain or pressure;
- Frequent urination;
- Difficulty emptying the bladder;
- Pain in the back or legs.
Myomectomies can be performed in a number of different ways, including full abdominal incision or through minimally invasive surgical techniques involving laparoscopy and morcellation tools.
Are There Any Risks or Dangers Associated With Myomectomies?
As with any type of surgical procedure, there are risks associated with myomectomy procedures. Complications and risks can include the following:
- Risks Associated with the Use of Anesthesia: General anesthesia is used in laparoscopic myomectomy, often in abdominal myomectomy and sometimes also in myomectomy. Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) which does not require placement of a tube in the patient’s throat, is often used for hysteroscopic myomectomy, as it is a less invasive procedure requiring less anesthesia.
- Elderly adults or people with serious medical conditions have a higher risk of experiencing confusion after surgery. They are also at higher risk of contracting pneumonia or experiencing a post-surgical stroke or a heart attack. This is particularly true if they have more extensive surgical procedures;
- Significant blood loss, which can be life-threatening;
- Scarring in the uterus;
- Later need to deliver through a Cesarean section;
- Rupture of the uterus during pregnancy;
- The chance that a hysterectomy would be necessary;
- The chance of spreading a cancerous tumor.
Additionally, myomectomies generally do not prevent the regrowth of uterine fibroids in the future. Complications may also result during the recovery stages, even though recovery from myomectomy typically only lasts for a short period of time.
What if I Have a Legal Claim Involving a Myomectomy Injury?
Myomectomy injuries can be serious, and damages from a surgical or medical error may require legal action to resolve. This is especially true if the injury interferes with the patient’s ability to conceive and give birth in the future or if the injury affects other bodily functions.
If a person experiences negative consequences as a result of their myomectomy, they may have grounds for a lawsuit for medical malpractice or failed surgery. An expert medical professional with the same specialty as the doctor accused of malpractice would typically have to testify that the actions of a doctor or other healthcare professional involved in the victim’s myomectomy failed to meet the standard of care for surgeons who perform myomectomies.
For example, excessive bleeding is a risk of myomectomy. Excessive bleeding can require an emergency blood transfusion or other measures to stop it. A surgeon who performs myomectomy must know about effective interventions that can be used to reduce bleeding during myomectomy. If a surgeon does not respond to excessive bleeding with appropriate measures, excessive bleeding can prove to be fatal. The surgeon may be liable for medical malpractice.
The victim of malpractice has to prove that the healthcare professional’s negligence was the direct cause of injury to the victim and that the victim suffered economic and non-economic losses as a result of their injury. Healthcare professionals other than a doctor or a surgeon can be the basis for a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Nurses and other caregivers can also be liable for medical negligence. Pharmacists can be liable also for pharmacy errors.
A victim would seek a monetary damages award in a lawsuit for medical malpractice. An award of monetary damages would compensate the victim for their economic and non-economic damages. Damages would compensate the victim for such losses as the cost of all necessary medical treatment that the victim required. Lost wages would be compensated, as would any loss of earning capacity that the victim experienced.
If a victim suffers permanent disability, an award of monetary damages will compensate them for that loss as well. In addition, non-economic damages compensate a victim for the non-physical aspects of their injuries, most importantly, their pain and suffering.
A lawsuit for strict product liability might also be called for in a case involving injuries related to a myomectomy. Some surgical instruments used in myomectomy and hysterectomy have been subject to FDA recalls in the past or are not indicated for use in treating patients suspected of having or confirmed as having cancer. Certain equipment should also not be used in women over 50 years of age.
Reportedly some studies show that using a laparoscopic power morcellator during myomectomy in women with hidden uterine sarcomas can lead to lower chances of long-term survival without cancer. Women whose surgeons use a laparoscopic power morcellator during fibroid surgery and later found to have a hidden uterine sarcoma have lower disease-free survival rates than women treated with manual morcellation or without morcellation.
Thus, product liability may be an issue as well for some types of injuries that may result from myomectomy. For example, this could be the case if the surgeon uses a laparoscopic power morcellator during the myomectomy.
Or, surgical equipment might be defective in other ways. If an instrument is defective and the defect causes injury, the manufacturer and distributors of the equipment can be liable to pay damages to compensate a victim for their losses.
A victim would be entitled to recover the same award of monetary damages in a lawsuit against the manufacturer and distributor of a defective product for strict product liability as may be awarded in a suit for medical malpractice. In a strict product liability lawsuit, a victim is not required to prove negligence on the part of anyone. Rather the victim needs only to prove that a product used in their treatment was defective and the defect caused them injury.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance With My Myomectomy-Related Lawsuit?
If you have undergone a myomectomy and either did not experience the resolution of your fibroid issue or suffered an injury that may have been caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional involved in your care, you want to contact a personal injury lawyer.
LegalMatch.com can connect you with a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice. Your lawyer can review your case, including your medical records. Your lawyer can also enlist the help of a medical expert who can say whether medical malpractice or a product defect was the cause of any injury you may have suffered.
An experienced personal injury can best protect your rights and make sure you get the full compensation to which you are entitled for any injury you have suffered.