Rare 61-Pound Fibroid Tumor Successfully Removed From Woman By Singapore Doctors

The noncancerous mass presented a challenge for doctors, who recounted the surgery in a case study.

Gloved hand reaches for sterilized surgical tools on operation table.
nimon / shutterstock

The noncancerous mass presented a challenge for doctors, who recounted the surgery in a case study.

A medical case study was just published revealing the surgery which successfully removed a 61-pound tumor from a woman’s uterus in Singapore, CBS 8 reports. Apparently, the Malay patient had already gone through menopause and had not sought earlier treatment because the symptoms did not bother her enough to undergo surgery. CBS compares the size of the benign tumor to that of a 9-year-old child.

The only reported symptoms of the bedridden woman were shortness of breath, and disease of movement because of the tumor’s awkwardly large size, the study said. However, doctors said they were surprised she had not suffered extreme pain, postmenopausal bleeding, or bowel and urinary incontinence. The mass was removed with success, said the case study, but the woman did require plastic reconstructive surgery to the abdominal wall as a result of the extensive removal process. Though she also suffered tissue and blood loss as complications to the surgery, the woman is now reported stable and in good health two months later.

CBS states that the patient is now able to walk again, and is not suffering shortness of breath any longer. It sounds safe to say that the surgery was a success.

In a news story by LiveScience, the case report’s lead author, Singaporean physician Poh Ting Lim, went into more detail on the circumstances of the surgery. Apparently, the correct term for the tumor is “uterine leiomyoma,” which is better known as a uterine fibroid. These masses are usually noncancerous and are very common in women of childbearing age — up to 70% of women experience them before age 50. Yet, they don’t usually grow to be this big — the tumor removed from the patient was reportedly 26 inches across at its widest point. Instead, they usually start as small as a seed, according to LiveScience, and can grow large enough to distend the uterus. However, most women experience painful and uncomfortable side effects long before fibroids reach the size of the one featured in this case study.

In this particular patient’s case, Lim said, doctors believe the woman was afraid of surgery. That’s why she may have waited so long to seek medical attention despite the tumor’s size. Generally, fibroids can be removed long before they become so large, and so they don’t present a very large issue for most women. Unfortunately, the Malay woman’s surgery was not an easy task and resulted in a full hysterectomy.

As for record-sized fibroids, this case was not the first. LiveScience says that on record, the largest fibroid tumor ever removed was performed on a deceased patient in 1888, weighing in at 140 pounds. As for living patients who survived fibroid removal surgery, the largest one on record that was removed successfully was reported to be 100 pounds.