The Grapevine

Woman Gets Rare, 132-Pound Ovarian Tumor Removed In Successful Surgery

For a 38-year-old woman in Connecticut, an unusually rapid weight gain turned out to be a 132-pound ovarian tumor. A five-hour procedure was conducted to remove the tumor, which is said to be one of the largest of its kind, according to the surgeons.

"During the surgery, we removed this gigantic tumor that originated from her left ovary. We removed her left ovary, her left (fallopian) tube, and we removed the affected peritoneal tissue that was adhering to the ovary," said Dr. Vaagn Andikyan, a gynecologic oncologist at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.

He assembled and led a team of 25 clinical specialists for the surgery which took weeks of extensive planning. While ovarian mucinous tumors can often be large in size, Dr. Andikyan pointed out that this was still an exceptional case.

"I might expect to see a 25-pound ovarian tumor, but a 132-pound tumor is very rare," he said

He described meeting the patient who was using a wheelchair and appeared extremely malnourished. This was because of the massive size of the tumor which went on to block the digestive tract. While the tumor was not cancerous, it was a threat to the patient's life due to other reasons. 

"There were a lot of issues related to this very large tumor in the abdomen. She can't eat, she can't walk, and there are problems related to potential complications with this large mass compressing the venous system," said Dr. Linus Chuang, one of the specialists involved in the case.

He added that the patient was also at high risk of developing blood clots because of compression of the blood flow.

According to rough estimates, the prevalence of ovarian cysts is said to be around 8 percent and 18 percent among premenopausal and postmenopausal women respectively. Even though a majority are non-cancerous and disappear on their own, serious symptoms must be checked by a medical professional before they progress into a serious problem.

A dull or sharp ache in the lower abdomen, bloating or a constant feeling of fullness are possible signs of a cyst. If the pain becomes severe and is accompanied by fever, lightheadedness, nausea, and breathing difficulties, medical attention may be required. Ovarian cysts have also been linked to menstrual spotting and irregular menstruation. Regular pelvic examinations and paying attention and unusual menstrual symptoms can help ensure diagnosis as early as possible. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, women at risk include those who are infertile, pregnant, or have been diagnosed with endometriosis. In addition, women who have experienced a pelvic infection or previous ovarian cyst are also more likely to develop one.