Spleen removal - series

Normal anatomy

Normal anatomy

The spleen is an organ that helps produce certain white blood cells. It is also part of the lymph system and the immune system. The spleen also removes old or damaged red blood cells from circulating blood.

Indications

Indications

Guidelines for splenectomy include:

  • Hereditary or acquired hemolytic anemia
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenia
  • Trauma to the spleen
  • Some cases of lymphoma, leukemia, or Hodgkin's disease
  • Portal hypertension with hypersplenism
  • Hereditary spherocytosis

Incision

Incision

General anesthesia is used. The patient is in deep sleep and pain free. The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen.

Procedure

Procedure

The surgeon locates and isolates the spleen, rotates it and brings it out through the incision. Its attachments to other organs are gently cut. In children, following traumatic injury and splenic disruption, a healthy fragment of the spleen may be reimplanted. Such fragments provide continued splenic function.

Aftercare

Aftercare

The outcome varies with the underlying disease and extent of other injuries. Complete recovery from surgery should be anticipated. Recovery from the operation should be rapid. Hospitalization should be less than a week, and complete healing should occur within 3 to 4 weeks.

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 01/25/2013
  • Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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