Splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the spleen. It is a small organ on the left side of the body under the ribs.
Spleen helps prevent infection and removes damaged blood cells. In addition, spleen is also responsible for producing certain types of red and white blood cells. In most cases, splenectomy is performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Splenectomy might be recommended in following cases:
Enlarged or ruptured spleen
Certain kinds of cancers
Blood disorder called ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura)
Collection of puss or Cyst in the spleen
Bleeding of the spleen due to physical trauma
Sickle cell disease
Before the surgery, the surgeon will recommend:
Patient receives blood to ensure enough blood cells are left after the surgery
Vaccination to prevent infection
Stop blood thinners at least 10 days before the surgery
Fasting for 8 to 10 hours prior to the surgery
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and may take upto 3 hours. Depending on the size of the spleen, the surgeon will decide the technique for the surgery.
Laparoscopic Splenectomy is performed in case the spleen is not very enlarged. During the procedure, 3 to 4 small cuts are made in the abdomen, and the laparoscope is inserted through one of them and surgical tools are inserted through the rest of the cuts. To expand the belly and making room for the surgery, gas is delivered. The spleen is removed with the help of the inserted surgical tools and the incisions are sutured.
Open surgery is performed in the cases of enlarged spleen, trauma cases and ruptured spleen. A large single incision is made in the middle of the abdomen. The surgeon locates the spleen and removes it, and then closes the incision.
In some cases, during the laparoscopic procedure, the doctor may need to switch to open procedure.
After laparoscopic surgery, the patient is discharged on the same day or the next; while after open surgery, the discharge is after 2 to 6 days.
Complete recovery takes about 4 to 6 weeks, after which the patient can resume normal activities.
Risk and Complications
Although a safe procedure, certain known complications are
Clotting of blood
Collapsed lung, in rare cases
In long term, the patient is more likely to catch infectious diseases.
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