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Splenectomy

The spleen is an organ that plays some important functions. Its main function is to filter the blood. The organ also contributes to the immune system. The reason is due to the fact that this organ helps to fight those bacteria that cause meningitis & pneumonia. The damaged red blood cells are recycled in the spleen. Spleen also happens to be the site in which white blood cells and platelets are stored. Any problem with the organ can impair these functions, and hence cause disturbance to the general body mechanism.

Various procedures exist for the treatment of spleen disorders. Surgical removal of this organ is commonly done for a damaged or diseased spleen. This process is called splenectomy. Splenectomy is also done for the following conditions:

  • Presence of abscess in the spleen.
  • Liver cirrhosis.
  • Blood clot in the blood vessels of the spleen.
  • hypersplenism.
  • Sickle cell anemia.

Splenectomy may also be recommended in conditions where the spleen has become malignant. There are also certain conditions that result in spleen swelling and subsequent rupture. As the conditions worsen, this can lead to malfunctioning of the spleen. In such conditions, an auto-splenectomy is performed.

The surgeon recommends this surgery on noticing unstable signs and symptoms of a damaged/diseased spleen. Such symptoms include very low blood pressure, internal bleeding etc.

Nowadays, majority of the surgeries are performed using laparoscope. The instrument is a tool that has a camera fitted to its end. Couple of cuts is made in the abdomen. Through one of the incisions, laparoscope is inserted. The location of the spleen is then identified. The different micro-instruments are the passed into the area to perform various functions. One of the instruments is employed to pass carbon dioxide to the region. The objective is to push the nearby organs away so that there is more space for performing the surgery. The blood supply of the spleen is then disconnected. Through the largest surgical opening, the organ is removed. By employing sutures or stitches, the openings are closed.

A much larger cut is essential for an open surgery. Here, a cut is made across the left or middle side of the abdomen, just below the rib cage. The connection from the blood vessels & pancreas is then cut away. The disconnected spleen is then removed. The openings are then closed using suitable sutures or stitches.

Sometimes, an extra spleen may also be present. This is seen in almost 15% of the patients. The surgeons, therefore also check for the presence of additional spleens.