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Splenectomy

Introduction

A splenectomy is a surgical procedure that partially or completely removes the spleen.

Laparoscopy is the preferred procedure in cases where the spleen is not too large and when the procedure is elective. Open surgery is performed in trauma cases or if the spleen is enlarged. Either method is major surgery and is performed under general anesthesia. Vaccination for pneumococcus, H. influenza and meningococcus should be given pre-operatively if possible to minimize the chance of overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI), a rapid-developing and potentially fatal type of septicaemia.

The spleen is located and disconnected from its arteries. The ligaments holding the spleen in place are dissected and the organ is removed. In some cases, one or more accessory spleens are discovered and also removed during surgery.

The incisions are closed and when indicated, a drain is left. If necessary, tissue samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Incisions - Splenectomy

 

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