Uterine Fibroid with Pregnancy

This specimen is a uterus containing a fetus and showing a large uterine fibroid.

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Uterine fibroid specimen with pregnancy, photographed against a black background

This specimen shows a large uterine fibroid alongside a fetus. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths made up of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop in or around the uterus. Around 1 in 3 women develop fibroids at some point in their lives, but in many cases they never experience symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include heavy, painful periods and abdominal and lower back pain. Today, fibroids can be detected by ultrasound scans. 

This specimen is one of several in the collection for which we have very little information. However, we can learn about a specimen simply by examining it. In this case, we can see that the entire uterus has been removed and that the fibroid is much larger than the fetus. Because a complete hysterectomy was carried out, it is possible that neither doctor nor patient were aware of the pregnancy until after the procedure was complete. We can therefore speculate that the specimen predates the scanning technology that would have allowed a doctor to diagnose both the fibroid and the pregnancy. 

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