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Alternative Names Return to topSplenectomy; Laparoscopic splenectomy; Spleen removal - laparoscopic
Definition Return to top
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. It helps your body fight germs and infections. It also helps filter your blood.
Description Return to top
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:
For laparoscopic spleen removal:
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Some conditions that may require spleen removal are:
Risks Return to top
Risks for any surgery are:
The risks or problems that may occur during or soon after this surgery are:
Risks are the same for both open and laparoscopic spleen removal.
Before the Procedure Return to top
You will have many visits with your doctor and several tests before you have surgery. Some of these are:
If you smoke, you should stop smoking several weeks before this surgery. Spleen removal is major surgery, and smoking will increase your risks of problems.
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
During the week before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure Return to top
You or your child will spend less than a week in the hospital. Your hospital stay may be only 1 or 2 days after a laparoscopic splenectomy. You should heal in 4 to 6 weeks.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome of this surgery varies. It depends on what disease or injuries you have. People who do not have other severe injuries or medical problems usually recover after this surgery.
After your spleen is removed, you will be more likely to get infections. Talk with your doctor about getting needed vaccinations. Children especially may need to take antibiotic drugs to prevent infections. Most adults do not usually need antibiotics long-term.
References Return to top
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. American Journal of Medicine. May 2008;121(5).Update Date: 2/23/2009 Updated by: George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.