Pumpkin-size Giant Fibroid Removed From Woman’s Uterus

Doctors in Singapore have successfully removed a so-called giant uterine fibroid weighing about 61 pounds (28 kilograms) from a 53-year-old woman’s abdomen. (28 kilograms) of so-called giant fibroids were removed from the abdomen of a 53-year-old woman, according to the latest case report.

Medically speaking, a fibroid gains the description “giant” when it weighs 25 pounds (11 kilograms). (11 kilograms). In this woman’s case, however, the mass tipped the scales at more than twice the weight.

Uterine fibroids or “fibroids” are benign or non-cancerous tumors of the uterus. They may be as small as a seed or grow so large that they form bulky masses that can twist and enlarge the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, uterine fibroids don’t cause symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic says, but symptoms such as excessive bleeding during menstruation, painful intercourse, frequent urination or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen may occur.

The woman in this case sought medical attention because the weight of the fibroids had made it difficult for her to move, leaving her essentially bedridden, said lead case report author Dr. Poh Ting Lim, a resident of the obstetrics and gynecology department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore. Lim, who treated the woman, said the woman also experienced some shortness of breath, when she moved and lay down.

To remove the fibroids, doctors performed a total abdominal hysterectomy, a procedure that also removed the woman’s uterus and ovaries, according to the case report, which was published online Sept. 4 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

All told, the fibroid was the size of a large melon, measuring about 26 inches (65 centimeters) as its widest point, Lim told Live Science.Lim said it occupied the woman’s entire abdomen and pelvic cavity, extending all the way to the base of her sternum.

The surgery to remove such a large tumor was very challenging, the report said. After the fibroid was removed, doctors had to perform reconstructive surgery to rebuild the woman’s abdominal wall, which had thinned after it had swelled so much, the report said.

How did the fibroids get so big?
Uterine fibroids are actually common in women of childbearing age. About 70 percent of women develop these growths by the time they reach age 50, Lim said. But huge fibroids, like the one described in this case, are extremely rare because women usually have growths removed before they reach such a large size, Lim noted.

The largest fibroids ever reported weighed 140 lbs. (63.3 kg) and was removed from a patient’s body in 1888, according to the case report. Among patients who survived the operation, the largest fibroid ever removed weighed 100 pounds (45.5 kg) and was removed from the patient’s body after his death in 1888. (45.5 kilograms), the report said.

How did the fibroids get so big?
Uterine fibroids are actually common in women of childbearing age. About 70 percent of women develop these growths by the time they reach age 50, Lim said. But huge fibroids, like the one described in this case, are extremely rare because women usually have growths removed before they reach such a large size, Lim noted.

The largest fibroids ever reported weighed 140 lbs. (63.3 kg) and was removed from a patient’s body in 1888, according to the case report. Among patients who survived the operation, the largest fibroid ever removed weighed 100 pounds (45.5 kg) and was removed from the patient’s body after his death in 1888. (45.5 kg), the report said.

Fibroids generally grow slowly, averaging about 9 percent during the six months of a woman’s reproductive life, Lim said. Then, after menopause, the tumor tends to shrink. (The woman in this case is postmenopausal.)

It’s unclear how long the fibroids had been in the woman’s body. But the growth has likely been there for at least five years, because it takes time to grow to a significant size, Lin says.

Interestingly, the woman didn’t have any bowel difficulties, such as constipation, and she could have eaten well despite the size of the fibroids (large fibroids can cause abdominal discomfort if they put pressure on the surrounding organs), Lin says. The woman may have avoided these symptoms due to the slow growth of the fibroids, which gave her body time to adjust to the changes, Lin notes.

The woman may have neglected to seek medical attention for her giant fibroids sooner because she feared surgery, Lim said.

When Lim last saw the woman, two months after the surgery, the patient was in good health and her abdomen was healing well.