Spleen is an organ that protects the body from infections and removes unwanted materials like old and damaged blood cells from the blood stream. Spleen has an important role in the body’s defense system and contains particular white bloods cells that have the ability to destroy the bacteria that invade the body and prevents from falling sick. It also acts as a filter in the blood circulation system to keep it clean. Splenectomy refers to the removal of spleen that has been ruptured or enlarged by any abdominal injury. Other reasons for Splenectomy include blood disorders, cancer, presence of cysts and infection. Laparoscopic splenectomy is the widely used technique to remove damaged spleen from the body.
Doctors recommend splenectomy when following conditions persist in the organ:
- Ruptured spleen: multiple abdominal injuries can lead to ruptured spleen causing internal bleeding.
- Enlarged spleen. An enlarged spleen (splenomegaly), can cause severe pain and discomfort.
- Blood disorder. Several blood disorders are treated by spelenectomy when other treatments are not responding to the condition.
- Cancer: Splenectomy is used to treat various cancers including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s
lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia.
- Infection. An infected spleen with formation of pus has to be removed by spelenectomy.
- Cyst or tumor: Formation of cysts and tumors inside the spleen are removed by splenectomy.
Diagnosis and treatment
Before undergoing a splenectomy patients are required to undergo various treatments such as:
- Blood transfusion to make sure sufficient blood cells is present in the body.
- Vaccinations to prevent any infection after spleen have been removed.
- Momentarily discontinue other meditations if any.
- Keep away from food and drinks for some time.
During splenectomy, the surgeon begins with a general anesthetic and monitors the blood pressure and oxygen levels during the surgery. The methods of surgery are open or laparoscopic depending on the size and condition of the affected spleen.
- Laparoscopic splenectomy. In laparoscopic splenectomy, three or four small incision is made in the abdomen. Then a small tube connected with a camera is inserted through the incision to view an enlarged image of the abdomen and internal organs. Later surgical tools are inserted to remove the affected spleen and incisions are closed.
- Open splenectomy : In some cases when the spleen is ruptured or enlarged, laparoscopic splenectomy may become impossible . In such cases open splenectomy is performed. In open surgery a larger incision is made and the ruptured spleen is removed.
After splenectomy, patients are monitored; meditations and fluids are provided through an intravenous line to ease pain and discomfort. In laparoscopic splenectomy, patients can leave the hospital in a day or two. If it’s an open splenectomy, patients are required to stay in hospital for a week to inspect for any pain or infections in the wounded area. As spleen plays a major role in helping you to fight infections and bacterial attacks, doctors recommend taking several immunizations to help improve the functioning of immune system of the body in the absence of spleen.