CASE 18329 Published on 10.10.2023

Parasitic leiomyomas after hysterectomy


Genital (female) imaging

Case Type

Clinical Cases


Cedric Vanmarcke 1, Steven Van Hedent 2

1 Department of Radiology, UZ Leuven University Hospital, Leuven, Belgium

2 Department of Radiology, Jessa Hospital, Hasselt, Belgium


44 years, female

Area of Interest Abdomen, Genital / Reproductive system female ; Imaging Technique CT, Ultrasound
Clinical History

A 44-year-old woman with a history of a laparoscopic myomectomy, hysterectomy, and right ovarectomy performed 5 years ago, was referred for ultrasound and CT imaging as part of her investigation for intermittent abdominal pain and discomfort persisting for 7 days. Her medical history was otherwise unremarkable.

Imaging Findings

A large, well-delineated ovoid mass is observed in the lower abdomen, with slightly heterogeneous enhancement. No cystic or necrotic areas or calcifications are identified. The surrounding bowel is displaced laterally and posteriorly, with prominent vascularization originating from the surrounding omentum. A smaller, morphologically similar mass is situated laterally to the aforementioned mass, with a broad attachment to the peritoneum and a preserved omental fat plane between the mass and adjacent bowel loops. No other abdominal or pelvic masses were detected.

The patient underwent complete resection, and histopathological examination was compatible with leiomyomas.



Parasitic leiomyomas are uncommon variants of uterine leiomyomas that exist independently from the uterus and receive vascular supply from neighbouring structures [1]. It is hypothesized that they originate from leiomyomas that have detached from the uterus. Once free within the peritoneal cavity, they implant in a location and establish new vessels from surrounding tissue to survive and proliferate [2]. The increased use of laparoscopic surgery has led to a rise in iatrogenic parasitic leiomyomas following morcellation during myomectomy or hysterectomy, as small fragments may remain in the peritoneal cavity and subsequently implant [3]. Other subtypes of leiomyomas outside the uterus include benign metastasizing pulmonary leiomyomatosis, intravenous leiomyomatosis, or diffuse peritoneal leiomyomatosis [4].

Clinical Perspective

These tumours typically manifest in women of reproductive age, with a history of uterine surgery observed in approximately half of the cases. When they occur following surgery, diagnosis is often delayed, with a mean delay of more than 5 years. Patients are often asymptomatic but may present with nonspecific symptoms such as pain or bloating. Rarely, torsion of a pedunculated leiomyoma can occur [4].

Imaging Perspective

Tumour characteristics resemble intrauterine leiomyomas, appearing as well-defined masses with smooth margins. They may be singular or multiple and range in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres. A history of surgery is not always a prerequisite, particularly in cases of diffuse peritoneal leiomyomatosis. Leiomyomas can implant anywhere within the peritoneal cavity, typically on the omentum and peritoneum, but also in the abdominal wall (due to direct invasion or at a laparoscopic portal), the vagina, bladder, or retroperitoneum [2]. A biopsy may be indicated, as imaging characteristics can be nonspecific, and tumour marker elevation may coincide [5].


Parasitic leiomyomas are benign in nature and do not require treatment unless patients experience symptoms or there is significant compression of surrounding organs. To reduce their size, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists may be used, but the definitive treatment is surgical.

Take-Home Message / Teaching Points

The presence of multiple well-defined abdominal masses with smooth margins, particularly peritoneally or omentally based, in a woman of reproductive age should prompt consideration of parasitic or peritoneal leiomyomas, especially in those with a history of prior myomectomy.

Written informed patient consent for publication has been obtained.

Differential Diagnosis List
Parasitic leiomyomatosis
Parasitic omental and peritoneal leiomyomatosis
Desmoid tumours
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours
Metastatic leiomyosarcoma
Desmoplastic small round cell tumour
Final Diagnosis
Parasitic omental and peritoneal leiomyomatosis
Case information
DOI: 10.35100/eurorad/case.18329
ISSN: 1563-4086