The spleen is an organ that is located in the left abdominal cavity. It is a storage organ for red blood cells and white blood cells. It is part of the immune system and helps remove damaged and old blood particles and help the body identify and kill bacteria. The spleen can also affect the platelet count, a blood particle that helps with clotting.
The board-certified general surgeons at Central Carolina Surgery specialize in performing laparoscopic spleen surgery in Greensboro, North Carolina. Learn more about spleen surgery and schedule your appointment with Central Carolina Surgery today.
Why would my spleen need to be removed?
There are several reasons that the spleen may need to be removed. The following reasons that are listed are not all-inclusive, but are some of the most common reasons.
Removing the spleen following trauma is a common occurrence. This occurs commonly after a car accident or fall. This occurs on an emergent basis when the patient is brought into the hospital.
A common non-emergent reason is a condition called Idiopathic (unknown cause) Thrombocytopenic (low platelets) Purpura (rash-like), ITP. Hemolytic anemia (a condition that breaks down red blood cells) can require the spleen be removed to decrease the need for blood transfusions. Also genetic conditions that affect the shape of red blood cells, sickle cell disease, spherocytosis, or thalassemia, may require removal of the spleen.
The above listed conditions can be found by your physician while evaluating your previous history and blood work. The work-up can sometimes require a bone marrow biopsy and X-rays tests.
How is the spleen removed?
The spleen can be removed laparoscopically, sometimes referred to as a minimally invasive technique, or with an open incision. Most patients can have their spleen removed laparoscopically. If the spleen is enlarged in size, this may not be able to be removed with a laparoscopic surgery.
What needs to be done to prepare for spleen removal?
After your surgeon determines that removing your spleen would be a benefit to you, he/she would order a medical workup if needed, and any remaining blood tests, and order any needed blood products for transfusion. Immunizations with special vaccines would be required prior to surgery, usually two weeks before surgery.
Your Surgeon will obtain your consent for surgery and any needed blood transfusion and go over the technique of the surgery in detail with you in the office.