SPLEEN REMOVAL SPLENECTOMY
The spleen is an organ that helps the body fight infections. Spleen removal surgery may be required if the spleen is diseased or damaged. Spleen removal can be performed through a laparoscopic procedure or through an open procedure. Most patients undergo laparoscopic spleen removal surgery.
Who are candidates for Spleen Removal Surgery (Splenectomy) ?
Spleen removal may be an elective surgery, one that is planned, or it may be required in an emergency situation. Some conditions which may require spleen removal include;
Emergency Spleen Removal : –
- Trauma to the spleen with uncontrolled bleeding
- Spontaneous rupture (extremely rare)
- Emergency splenectomy is sometimes necessary in patients with relatively minor injuries, but who have been on a blood thinning drug called Coumadin (warfarin) which causes excessive bleeding from the spleen
Splenectomy, also written as spleenectomy, is the surgical removal of the spleen, an organ which is the part of the lymphatic system. A dark purple bean-shaped organ, the spleen is located in the upper left side of the abdomen, just behind the bottom of the rib cage. The function of the spleen is to remove bacteria, parasites and other infection causing organisms from the blood. It also makes and stores the blood as well as removes old and damaged blood cells.
A splenectomy surgery is performed for various reasons, and there are different procedures which can be followed for the operation. On this page, you will find information on spleen removal surgery, different procedures, a brief overview on the recovery, and a note on getting a splenectomy surgery abroad with special emphasis on India.
Splenectomy Surgery Procedure in india
A splenectomy is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. The surgeon starts by making an incision in the abdomen. The spleen is then located and separated from its attachments to the surrounding organs. The blood supply to the spleen is then divided and it is removed from the abdomen. After establishing that there is no abnormal bleeding, the incision is closed.
The procedure can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Lesser time is taken in a laparoscopic technique and the recovery is faster as well.
Types of Splenectomy Surgery Procedures in india
- Complete Splenectomy : – A complete splenectomy surgery is performed is two cases, either when an enlarged spleen is to be removed or when a ruptured spleen has to be removed. An open surgery is undertaken to remove the spleen via an incision in the abdomen in the case of an enlarged spleen. On the other hand, when the spleen has been ruptured, the organ is approached from its underside. After the spleen is removed, the incision is closed.
- Partial Splenectomy : – When the spleen is not entirely damaged and a partial removal of the organ will suffice, a partial splenectomy is performed. Only a part of the spleen is removed and this is considered by many a welcome compromise which reduces the pain and discomfort caused by an enlarged spleen, while leaving the patient less vulnerable to infections.
- Laparoscopic splenectomy : – This procedure involves the removal of the spleen via various small incisions, and this procedure is fast becoming the preferred method to operate. Also called keyhole splenectomy, laparoscopic spleen removal is done with small surgical instruments inserted through very short incisions. Advantages of this procedure include less pain, less discomfort, reduced risk of infections, reduced hospital stay and barely visible scars.
A laparoscopic splenectomy is not favored if the patient’s spleen is greatly enlarged. A spleen no longer than 20 centimeters is removed via this procedure.
Recovery Post a Splenectomy Surgery in india
Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but it generally takes 4-6 weeks for complete recovery to take place. A day or two of hospitalization is required to ensure that everything is on track, post which the patient is sent home with a follow up schedule and prescriptions. Blood transfusion may be indicated for some patients, in order to replace defective blood cells. A little pain and discomfort is expected, and medication is given to control the same, but anything extreme should be reported to the surgeon immediately. Frequent travel should be avoided and the patient is required to ease into their pre surgery routines.
Children with splenectomies may be kept on antibiotic therapy until they are 16 years old. All patients can be given a booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine five to 10 years after undergoing a splenectomy.
Signs of infection, fevers, chills, redness, swelling, increased pain and discharge from the incision site, cough, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting should be reported to the doctor immediately.
Splenectomy – Risks Associated
Splenectomy removes the organ which takes care of filtering out the bacteria and other infection causing organisms from the blood. Owing to this, the surgery has various risk factors associated with it.
Some of the most common ones are : –
- High vulnerability to bacteria infections
- Morbid infections (especially in children)
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Collapse of the lungs
- Excessive bleeding post surgery
- Infection of the incision
Keeping the above mentioned risks in mind, surgeons prescribe various medications which are to be taken religiously after the surgery, a two-year course of penicillin or long-term treatment with ampicillin being the most common.