Spleen organ is located under the rib cage on the upper left side of the abdomen. It is one of the essential parts of the immunity system as it helps in fighting the various infections and eliminates the unwanted old or damaged blood cells from the body. A spleen also makes red blood cells in the body and removes the old ones from the body's circulation. Splenectomy surgery is specifically used to remove the spleen entirely.
Candidates for Splenectomy
Splenectomy is used to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Doctors may recommend splenectomy if the individual is suffering from the following problems:-
Enlarged spleen: -
If any individual is suffering from enlarged spleen the doctors may remove the entire enlarged spleen to ease the symptoms such as pain and a feeling of fullness.
Ruptured spleen: -
Ruptured spleen is caused due to a severe abdominal injury or because of splenomegaly which is enlargement of the spleen. A ruptured spleen can be life threatening as it causes internal bleeding.
If a patient is suffering from cancer such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, hairy cell leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's lymphoma then they can be treated with splenectomy.
Blood disorder: -
Patient suffering from blood disorders such as thalassemia
, Polycythemia Vera, sickle cell anemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura can be treated with splenectomy. Splenectomy is generally performed in case if other treatments have failed to reduce the symptoms of blood disorders.
Patient suffering from severe infection or has a large amount of pus in the spleen and has not responded to other treatments are recommended for splenectomy by the doctors.
Cyst or tumor: -
Patient with noncancerous cysts or tumors inside the spleen which are large or difficult to remove completely by any other treatment is recommended with splenectomy.
A splenectomy can be performed as open surgery, laparoscopic, or a minimally invasive procedure. The approach chosen by the surgery depends on the size of the spleen the patient has. If the spleen is large then the surgeon is more likely to choose a traditional approach for the surgery. The entire procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The surgical team monitors the patients’ blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen throughout the procedure.
Open Splenectomy is a traditional open surgery. In this surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the center of the abdomen or just below the ribs. The surgeon then moves aside other tissues to locate and remove the spleen. The spleen is then disconnected from the pancreas and other blood supplies connected to it. The incision is then closed with stitches or staples.
Laparoscopic Splenectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon makes around 3 to 4 incisions in the abdomen of the patient. The surgeon then inserts a tube with a tiny video camera attached to in the abdomen of the patient through one of the incisions made. Other instruments are then inserted through other cuts. The surgeon then pumps carbon dioxide gas inside the abdomen to expand it as it provides the surgeon with more room for the surgery. The surgeon uses the scope and other instruments to remove the spleen with small tools. The scope and other instruments are then removed. The incisions are then closed with stitches or staples.
Before Splenectomy Surgery
Before the surgery the surgeons perform:-
- A complete physical exam.
- Blood tests.
- The patient may receive blood transfusions to ensure that they have enough blood cells after the spleen is removed.
- The patient may also receive a pneumococcal vaccine and other vaccines to prevent any infection after the spleen is removed.
After the surgery
Post-surgery if the patient has undergone laparoscopic surgery they are likely to be discharged in the same or the next day and in the case of open surgery the patients are discharged after two to six days after the surgery. After the spleen is removed from the body other organs in the body take over the previous functions that were performed by the spleen. The risk of infection and sickness are much higher after the surgery. To reduce the risk, the doctors recommend various antibiotics medications
There are some risks involved in spleen removal surgery:-
- Hernia at the site of the incision.
- Collapsed lung.
- Internal infection.
- Formation of a blood clot in the vein.
- Damage to the organs near the spleen.
- A collection of pus under the diaphragm.
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