Splenectomy

Splenectomy is the surgical removal of the spleen, a large organ located in the upper left part of the abdomen. The spleen assists in the fighting of infection, particularly in children and adolescents. Splenectomy is indicated in splenomegaly, a condition of enlarged spleen, and in various other conditions often associated with haemolysis, the breakdown of blood products. 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, inability to have a large meal, weakness, fatigue, frequent infections, and severe bleeding.

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 of 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. The spleen is removed using the laparoscope and other instruments. The small incisions are stitched.

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