The spleen is an organ involved in the production and maintenance of red blood cells, the production of certain circulating white blood cells, as a part of the lymph system, and as a part of the immune system.
Guidelines for splenectomy include:
Congenital or acquired hemolytic anemia
Trauma to the spleen
Lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease
Portal hypertension and hypersplenism
General anesthesia is used. The patient is in deep sleep and pain free. The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen.
The surgeon locates and isolates the spleen, rotates it and brings it out of the wound. Its attachments to other organs are gently cut. In children, following traumatic injury and splenic disruption, a healthy fragment of the spleen may be reimplanted. Such fragments provide continued splenic function.
The outcome varies with the underlying disease and extent of other injuries. Complete recovery from surgery should be anticipated. Recovery from the operation should be rapid. Hospitalization should be less than a week, and complete healing should occur within 3 to 4 weeks.
Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery Practice Specializing in Breast Cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.