Spleen removal - Overview
Splenectomy; Laparoscopic splenectomy; Spleen removal - laparoscopic
Definition of Spleen removal:
Spleen removal (splenectomy) is surgery to remove a diseased or damaged spleen. This organ is in the upper part of your belly, on the left side underneath the rib cage.
The spleen helps your body fight germs and infections. It also helps filter your blood.
The spleen is removed while you are under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). Your surgeon may do either an open splenectomy or a laparoscopic splenectomy.
In an open spleen removal:
- Your surgeon will make a cut in the middle of your belly or on the left side of the belly just below your ribs.
- Your surgeon will find your spleen and remove it.
- If you are also being treated for cancer, lymph nodes in your belly will be examined. They may also be removed.
- After checking carefully for bleeding in your belly, your surgeon will close your cut.
For laparoscopic spleen removal:
- A laparoscope is an instrument with a tiny camera and a light on the end. It allows your surgeon to see the area through just a small cut. Your surgeon will make three to four small cuts in your belly. The laparoscope will be inserted through one of the cuts. Other medical instruments will be inserted through the other cuts. Gas will be pumped into your belly to expand it. This gives your surgeon more space to work.
- Your surgeon will use the laparoscope and other instruments to remove your spleen.
- Patients usually recover more quickly from laparoscopic surgery and have less pain than from open surgery.
- Laparoscopic surgery is not for everyone. Ask your doctor if it may be right for you.
Why the Procedure Is Performed:
Some conditions that may require spleen removal are:
- Reviewed last on: 1/24/2011
- Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Beauchamp RD, Holzman MD, Fabian TC, Weinberg JA. The spleen. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 56.
Camitta BM. Hyposplenism, splenic trauma, and splenectomy. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 487.
Cadili A, de Gara C. Complications of splenectomy. Am J Med. 2008;121(5):371-375.
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