What is Splenectomy?

Splenectomy is the surgical removal of spleen, a large organ located in the upper left part of the stomach that contains macrophages, specialized cells that fight against the foreign bodies. Splenectomy is indicated in splenomegaly, a condition of enlarged spleen. Patients with splenomegaly may or may not exhibit the symptoms and will be diagnosed by the physicians by physical examination or radiological diagnosis. The common symptoms include abdominal pain, hiccups, unable to have a large meal, weakness, fatigue, frequent infections, and severe bleeding.

Procedure of Splenectomy

Splenectomy may be performed by open surgery or laparoscopic procedure.

  • Open splenectomy: It is a surgical procedure to remove the spleen where the spleen is enlarged and damaged. It is performed under general anaesthesia. A large cut is made in the middle or on the left side of the abdomen, below the ribs. The blood vessels are tied, the surgeon removes the spleen and the incisions are stitched after checking for bleeding.
  • Laparoscopic splenectomy: It is performed under general anaesthesia. It uses a laparoscope, an instrument with a tiny camera and a light at the end. Three to four incisions are made on the abdomen, and the laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions. The laparoscope allows viewing the area on a bigger screen. Other surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions. Gas is pumped to expand the abdomen to give more space to work. Spleen is removed using the laparoscope and other instruments. The small incisions are stitched.

Risks and Complications of Splenectomy

Some of the complications include bleeding, wound infection, pneumonia, and injury to other structures.

  • The Clementine Churchill Hospital
  • NHS Royal Free London
  • UCL
  • NHS London North West
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England