What is a 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.
What does the Spleen do for my body?
The spleen helps your body fight germs and infections. It also helps filter your blood.
After your spleen is removed, you are more likely to develop infections. Talk with Dr. Kolachalam about getting needed vaccinations. Children especially may need to take antibiotic drugs to prevent infections. Most adults do not need antibiotics long-term.
Everyone who has had a splenectomy will need to get a flu vaccine every year.
Why would I need my Spleen removed?
Some conditions that my require the removal of my Spleen are:
- Abscess or cyst in the spleen
- Blood clot (thrombosis) in the blood vessels of the spleen
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Diseases or disorders of blood cells, such as idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), hereditary spherocytosis, thalassemia, hemolytic anemia, and hereditary elliptocytosis. These are all rare conditions.
- Lymphoma, Hodgkin disease, and leukemia
- Other tumors or cancers that affect the spleen
- Sickle cell anemia
- Splenic artery aneurysm (rare)
- Spleen infections or pus (abscess)
- Trauma to the spleen
How is the Spleen removed?
The spleen is removed while you are under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). Dr. Kolachalam may do either an open splenectomy or a laparoscopic splenectomy.
In an open spleen removal:
- Dr. Kolachalam will make a cut in the middle of your belly or on the left side of the belly just below your ribs.
- Dr. Kolachalam 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, Dr. Kolachalam 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 Dr. Kolachalam to see the area through just a small cut.
- Dr. Kolachalam 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 Dr. Kolachalam more space to work.
- Dr. Kolachalam 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 Dr. Kolachalam if it may be right for you.
View the video below to gain a visual understanding of how the Spleen functions, reasons for removal, and the procedures possibly used to remove your Spleen.