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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Spleen Removal

Spleen Removal

Alternate Names : Splenectomy

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

Spleen removal, or splenectomy, involves surgically removing the spleen from the body. The spleen produces red blood cells and white blood cells in the body. It also stores blood. The spleen also filters out bacteria and old red blood cells from the blood. It is located to the upper left side of the abdomen, just in front of the stomach.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A spleen removal is usually done on a person with a diseased or damaged spleen. Reasons for a removal include:

  • non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system
  • autoimmune hemolytic anemia, a condition in which the body develops antibodies that attack its own red blood cells
  • cysts on the spleen
  • idiopathic thrombocytopenia, a disorder in which a low platelet count results in abnormal bleeding
  • massive splenomegaly, an enlargement of the spleen
  • hereditary spherocytosis, a condition in which part of the blood cells take on a spherical shape causing jaundice and anemia
  • leukemia, or cancer of the blood cells
  • traumatic injury
  • blood clots that get into the spleen
  • How is the procedure performed?

    The removal of a spleen is done under general anesthesia. This means that the person is put to sleep with medication. An incision, or cut, is made in the abdomen. The blood vessels supplying blood to the spleen are tied off and cut. The surgeon then turns the spleen and lifts it out of the body. The surgeon also checks the other organs in the abdomen, looking for injury, tumors, or other conditions. The abdomen and its blood supply are rechecked for bleeding. The other organs are put back in place, and the muscles are sutured where necessary. The incision is closed with sutures, staples, or clips.


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    Spleen Removal: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/06/01

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