Interventions infobox

Caption =
ICD10 =
ICD9 = 41.43
ICD9_mult = ICD9proc|41.5
MeshID = D013156
OtherCodes =
A splenectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of the spleen by operative means.


The spleen, similar in structure to a large lymph node, acts as a blood filter. Current knowledge of its purpose includes the removal of old red blood cells and platelets, and the detection and fight against certain bacteria. It's also known to create new blood cells. The spleen is enlarged in a variety of conditions such as malaria, mononucleosis and most commonly in "cancers" of the lymphatics, such as lymphomas or leukemia.

It is removed under the following circumstances:
#When it becomes very large such that it becomes destructive to platelets/red cells
#For diagnosing certain lymphomas
#When platelets are destroyed in the spleen as a result of an auto-immune process (see also idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura)
#When the spleen bleeds following physical trauma
#Following spontaneous rupture
#For long-term treatment of congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) if severe hemolytic anemia develops cite web | author=Frye R.| title=Porphyria, Cutaneous | url=http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic1871.htm | publisher=eMedicine | year=2006-03-02 | accessdate 2006-03-28]

- Spleen is also removed if gastric cancer has spread in any of its area.

The classical cause of traumatic damage to the spleen is a blow to the abdomen during a sporting event. In cases where the spleen is enlarged due to illness (mononucleosis), the smallest things such as leaning over a counter or straining at stool can cause it to rupture.


Vaccination for pneumococcus, "H. influenza" and meningococcus should be given pre-operatively if possible.In general, spleens are removed by laparoscopy (minimal access surgery) when the spleen is not too large and when the procedure is elective. It is performed by open surgery for trauma or large spleens. Both methods are major surgeries, and are performed under general anesthesia. The spleen is located and disconnected from its arteries. The ligaments holding the spleen in place are dissected and the spleen is removed. When indicated a drain is left in place and the incision(s) is closed. If necessary, tissue samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis.

ide effects

Because splenectomy causes an increased risk of overwhelming sepsis due to encapsulated organisms (such as "S. pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus influenzae") the patient should be immunized, if possible, prior to removal of the spleen; see asplenia. An increase in blood leukocytes can occur following a splenectomy. cite journal | author= | title=Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of infection in patients with an absent or dysfunctional spleen. Working Party of the British Committee for Standards in Haematology Clinical Haematology Task Force | journal=BMJ | year=1996 | pages=430–4 | volume=312 | issue=7028 | pmid=8601117 [http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/312/7028/430 Full text] ] cite journal | author=J M Davies et al | title=The Prevention And Treatment Of Infection In Patients With An Absent Or Dysfunctional Spleen - British Committee for Standards in Haematology Guideline up-date | journal=BMJ | year=2001-06-02 | id= [http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/312/7028/430#12088 Full text] ] Failure to do so later puts the patient at risk of overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI), a potentially rapidly fatal septicaemia. These bacteria often cause a sore throat under normal circumstances but after splenectomy, when infecting bacteria cannot be adequately opsonized, the infection becomes more severe.

Following splenectomy, the platelet count may rise to high levels in blood leading to an increased risk of clot formation and death.

Complete removal of the spleen may increase the risk of developing diabetes ( [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/09/health/09diab.html?pagewanted=print&position= New York Times article] ).

Partial splenectomy

Much of the spleen's protective roles can be maintained if a small amount of spleen can be left behind.cite journal |author=Grosfeld JL, Ranochak JE |title=Are hemisplenectomy and/or primary splenic repair feasible? |journal=J. Pediatr. Surg. |volume=11 |issue=3 |pages=419–24 |year=1976 |pmid=957066|doi=10.1016/S0022-3468(76)80198-4] Where clinically appropriate, attempts are now often made to perform either surgical subtotal (partial) splenectomy,cite journal |author=Bader-Meunier B, Gauthier F, Archambaud F, "et al" |title=Long-term evaluation of the beneficial effect of subtotal splenectomy for management of hereditary spherocytosis |journal=Blood |volume=97 |issue=2 |pages=399–403 |year=2001 |pmid=11154215|doi=10.1182/blood.V97.2.399] or partial splenic embolization.cite journal |author=Pratl B, Benesch M, Lackner H, "et al" |title=Partial splenic embolization in children with hereditary spherocytosis |journal=Eur J Haematol |volume= 0|issue= |pages=071119202650002|year=2007 |pmid=18028435 |doi=10.1111/j.1600-0609.2007.00979.x] In particular, whilst vaccination and antibiotics provide good protection against the risks of asplenia, this is not always available in poorer countries.cite journal |author=Sheikha AK, Salih ZT, Kasnazan KH, "et al" |title=Prevention of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection in thalassemia patients by partial rather than total splenectomy |journal=Can J Surg |volume=50 |issue=5 |pages=382–6 |year=2007 |pmid=18031639 |doi=] However as it may take some time for the preserved splenic tissue to provide the full protection, it has been advised that preoperative vaccination still be given.cite journal |author=Kimber C, Spitz L, Drake D, "et al" |title=Elective partial splenectomy in childhood |journal=J. Pediatr. Surg. |volume=33 |issue=6 |pages=826–9 |year=1998 |pmid=9660206|doi=10.1016/S0022-3468(98)90651-0]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • splenectomy — [spli nek′tə mē] n. pl. splenectomies [ SPLEN + ECTOMY] the surgical removal of the spleen …   English World dictionary

  • splenectomy — Removal of the spleen. [splen + G. ektome, excision] * * * sple·nec·to·my spli nek tə mē n, pl mies surgical excision of the spleen * * * n. surgical removal of the spleen. This is sometimes necessary in the emergency treatment of bleeding from a …   Medical dictionary

  • splenectomy — n. surgical removal of the spleen. This is sometimes necessary in the emergency treatment of bleeding from a ruptured spleen and in the treatment of some blood diseases. Splenectomy in children may diminish the immune response to infections …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • splenectomy — noun (plural mies) Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: circa 1859 surgical removal of the spleen • splenectomize transitive verb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • splenectomy — /spli nek teuh mee/, n., pl. splenectomies. Surg. excision or removal of the spleen. Also called lienectomy. [1855 60; SPLEN + ECTOMY] * * * …   Universalium

  • splenectomy — noun The surgical removal of the spleen …   Wiktionary

  • splenectomy — n. surgical removal of the spleen …   English contemporary dictionary

  • splenectomy — [splɪ nɛktəmi] noun (plural splenectomies) a surgical operation involving removal of the spleen …   English new terms dictionary

  • splenectomy — sple·nec·to·my …   English syllables

  • splenectomy — sple•nec•to•my [[t]splɪˈnɛk tə mi[/t]] n. pl. mies srg surgical excision or removal of the spleen • Etymology: 1855–60 …   From formal English to slang

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