Splenectomy is the surgical removal of the spleen.
Located to the left of the stomach, the spleen is an organ which acts as a filter for blood. The spleen also help in fighting infections such as meningitis and pneumonia.
Patients presenting with the following conditions, are advised surgical removal of the spleen:
- Hypersplenism, a condition in which healthy red cells are destroyed by the spleen.
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune blood disorder, in which the antibodies produced by the spleen destroy the platelets which increases the risk of bleeding.
- Spleen rupture, an emergency condition caused by trauma or accident in which the spleen gets ruptured resulting in release of a large amount of blood in the abdominal area thus leading to shock which may be potentially fatal.
- Gastric cancer which spreads to the spleen
- Certain other blood disorders(like Thalassemia) and blood vessel problems (like aneurysm and blood clots in spleen blood vessels)
The above stated conditions require the surgical removal of spleen as the treatment option.
There are two ways to perform a splenectomy:
- Open surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery
The procedure for both the surgeries remains the same, the difference is in the approach. In open splenectomy a large incision is made below the costal margin. In laparoscopy the spleen is detached from its attachments by operating through small puncture incision 3-4 in number the spleen is there placed in a bag and fractured into small pieces for removal through the small access ports.
Laparoscopic surgery is less painful and has fewer complications as the abdominal muscles are not cut. The recovery is faster and the patients are mobile within a few hours after the surgery and may be discharged on the same day of the surgery. The cosmetic results are excellent as compared to an open surgery.