Dr. Vaagn Andikyan, a gynecologic oncologist at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, was barely able to believe it when he first heard about it. A 38-year-old woman had a 132-pound tumor growing on one of her ovaries.
“I might expect to see a 25-pound ovarian tumor, but a 132-pound tumor is very rare,” he said. In fact, he said it’s one of the largest tumors ever removed worldwide.
The tumor had been growing for two months. At its most aggressive state, it was growing at a rate of 10 pounds per week!
She was unable to walk or lie down and was extremely malnourished.
The woman was understandably nervous about the surgery, but Dr. Andikyan had faith in his team’s knowledge and skills. “I saw desperation in this lady’s eyes,” he said.
“She felt that nobody could help her, and when I informed her, ‘Yes, ma’am, there is a good chance you will be back to normal,’ she felt much better.”
The team of surgeons wanted to be prepared for every possible scenario. It took two weeks to plan everything out because so many things could have gone wrong.
Dr. David Goldenberg, section chief of plastic surgery at the hospital, talked about some of their concerns.
“The huge weight of the tumor made anesthesia really dangerous. All of a sudden you are going to reduce that weight in a flash, and the cardiac system has to adjust very quickly, so there was a tremendous amount of preparation done beforehand to anticipate that kind of a problem,” he said.
They were even prepared to do open heart surgery.
Dr. Andikyan, along with the rest of those on the team, was able to remove the tumor successfully in five hours in February of 2018. They were even able to save the woman’s other ovary.
After being removed, the tumor was found to not be cancerous. Tests are still being performed to find out what exactly made it grow so quickly.
Two months later, she is recovering well and is able to take care of her son. She’s even gone back to work.
“She is in good medical health and in absolutely great physical condition,” Dr. Andikyan said.
He believes that positive thinking had a huge role to play, “It’s stressful for any surgeon to operate on a very sick patient.”
“Thinking positive is very important. If you have a very challenging case, the game is never over. You still have a chance.”
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