A 38-year-old woman was forced to endure the sort of body horror that would make John Carpenter shudder: An all-consuming, if benign, ovarian tumor that swelled up to 132 pounds. But thankfully, doctors were able to successfully remove the monstrosity with relative ease.
According to the woman’s doctors at the Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, she first noticed things were amiss when she started gaining roughly 10 pounds a week over a two month-period. A trip to her gynecologist and CT scan later, she found out that she was carrying a large, presumably demonic mass in one of her ovaries.
The tumor was thought to be benign, meaning there were no risk of it spreading to other tissues or areas of the body, but its continued growth soon made it impossible for the woman to move under her own power or even eat much.
“I might expect to see a 25-pound ovarian tumor, but a 132-pound tumor is very rare,” said Vaagn Andikyan, a gynecologic oncologist at Danbury who led the surgical team, in a statement by the hospital. “When I met the patient, she was extremely malnourished because the tumor was sitting on her digestive tract, and she used a wheelchair because of the tumor’s weight.”
Within the span of two weeks after the patient entered their care, Andikyan said, his 25-member team planned out how to safely remove the tumor. They hoped to avoid damaging a large blood vessel the tumor was sitting on, as well as the woman’s heart. They also needed to reconstruct her abdomen afterward, since the tumor by then had taken up the whole space.
By all indications, the five-hour surgery—performed on February 14 of all days—went off without a hitch. Andikyan and his team removed the entire mass without complication. And they only needed to remove the woman’s left ovary. They also cleared away the excess abdominal skin the tumor had stretched out and rebuilt her abdomen. A biopsy confirmed that the mass was benign as well.
“She’s totally fine. She should be back to her baseline,” Andikyan said of the patient in an interview with Time. “I’m very proud of our hospital.”
The tumor is one of the largest of its kind ever recorded, though the biggest ones have eclipsed 300 pounds.
Hoping to better understand why these tumors can become so huge, Danbury Hospital pathologists are studying the genetics of the women’s unfriendly roommate.
“No one knows, really, why certain benign tumors get so big,” Andikyan said. “Maybe in the future we’ll know why these benign tumors get so big, so fast.”