DEFINITION

Splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your spleen, an organ located in the left upper abdomen, just under your rib cage. The spleen helps fight infection and filters unneeded material, such as old or damaged blood cells. Although your bone marrow produces most of your blood products, the spleen also produces red blood cells and certain types of white blood cells.

 

REASON FOR THE PROCEDURE

  • Ruptured or injured spleen
  • Blood disorders
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Cysts or tumors

Symptoms

Vary amongst patients.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Nonsurgical Options

There are other tests which may be used to diagnose your problem, such as CT scans, MRI, endoscopy etc.

Surgical Options

Laparoscopic or the conventional open surgery can be performed. Spleens larger than 800 grams are better suited for an open procedure.

 

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SURGERY

  • Infection of the skin
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Intestinal injury

(This is only a partial list of potential complications)

 

PRE-OPERATIVE PREPARATION

May include blood work, urinalysis, abdominal x-rays, and an abdominal CT scan.

 

POST-OPERATIVE PERIOD

After spleen removal, you’re more likely to contract serious or even life-threatening infections. You will receive a pneumonia vaccine and yearly flu vaccines. In some cases, preventive antibiotics may be recommended as well, especially if you have other conditions that increase your risk of serious infections.

 

AVERAGE HOSPITAL STAY

Varies amongst patients, and is generally between 2-5 days.

 

TYPE OF ANESTHESIA REQUIRED

Laparoscopic surgery requires general anesthesia which blocks pain and keeps you asleep throughout the entire surgery.

 

RECOVERY PERIOD

Once you have undergone laparoscopic surgery, your recovery period is usually shortened when compared to conventional open surgery. You will be given pain medication along with a laxative to prevent constipation.