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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Pelvic actinomycosis presenting as a malignant pelvic mass: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Arife Simsek, Asiye Perek, Ibrahim Ethem Cakcak, Ali Vedat Durgun
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-40) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

All authors planned to produce such a case report, analyzed and interpreted the patient data, reviewed the literature to design it and revised it for final approval of the version to be published.



Pelvic actinomycosis constitutes 3% of all human actinomycosis infections. It is usually insidious, and is often mistaken for other conditions such as diverticulitis, abscesses, inflammatory bowel disease and malignant tumors, presenting a diagnostic challenge pre-operatively; it is identified post-operatively in most cases. Here we present a case that presented as pelvic malignancy and was diagnosed as pelvic actinomycosis post-operatively.

Case presentation

A 48-year-old Caucasian Turkish woman presented to our clinic with a three-month history of abdominal pain, weight loss and difficulty in defecation. She had used an intra-uterine device for 16 years, however it had recently been removed. The rectosigmoidoscopy revealed narrowing of the lumen at 12 cm due to a mass lesion either in the wall or due to an extrinsic lesion that prevented the passage of the endoscope. On examination, there was no gynecological pathology. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a mass, measuring 5.5 × 4 cm attached to the rectum posterior to the uterus. The ureter on that side was dilated. Surgically there was a pelvic mass adhered to the rectum and uterine adnexes, measuring 10 × 12 cm. It originated from uterine adnexes, particularly ones from the left side and formed a conglomerated mass with the uterus and nearby organs; the left ureter was also dilated due to the pelvic mass. Because of concomitant tubal abscess formation and difficulty in dissection planes, total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salphingo-oophorectomy was performed (our patient was 48 years old and had completed her childbearing period). The cytology revealed inflammatory cells with aggregates of Actinomyces. Penicillin therapy was given for six months without any complication.


Pelvic actinomycosis should always be considered in patients with a pelvic mass especially in ones using intra-uterine devices, and who have a history of appendectomy, tonsillectomy or dental infection. Surgeons should be aware of this infection in order to avoid excessive surgical procedures.

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