Splenectomy





Definition

A splenectomy is the total or partial surgical removal of the spleen, an organ that is part of the lymphatic system.


Purpose

The human spleen is a dark purple bean-shaped organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen just behind the bottom of the rib cage. In adults, the spleen is about 4.8 X 2.8 X 1.6 in (12 X 7 X 4 cm) in size, and weighs about 4–5 oz (113–14 g). The spleen plays a role in the immune system of the body. It also filters foreign substances from the blood and removes worn-out blood cells. The spleen regulates blood flow to the liver and sometimes stores blood cells—a function known as sequestration. In healthy adults, about 30% of blood platelets are sequestered in the spleen.

Splenectomies are performed for a variety of different reasons and with different degrees of urgency. Most splenectomies are done after a patient has been diagnosed with hypersplenism. Hypersplenism is not a specific disease but a syndrome (group or cluster of symptoms)

There are two options for accessing the spleen for a splenectomy (A, 1 and 2). After the abdomen is entered, the spleen is located, and the artery leading to it is tied off (B). The ligament connecting the stomach and spleen is cut (C), as is the ligament connecting the spleen and colon (D). This frees the spleen for removal (E). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)
There are two options for accessing the spleen for a splenectomy (A, 1 and 2). After the abdomen is entered, the spleen is located, and the artery leading to it is tied off (B). The ligament connecting the stomach and spleen is cut (C), as is the ligament connecting the spleen and colon (D). This frees the spleen for removal (E). (
Illustration by GGS Inc.
)
that may be associated with different disorders. Hypersplenism is characterized by enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly), defects in the blood cells, and an abnormally high turnover of blood cells. It is almost always associated with such specific disorders as cirrhosis of the liver or certain cancers. The decision to perform a splenectomy depends on the severity and prognosis of the disease that is causing the hypersplenism.


Splenectomy always required

There are two diseases for which a splenectomy is the only treatment—primary cancers of the spleen and a blood disorder called hereditary spherocytosis (HS). In HS, the absence of a specific protein in the red blood cell membrane leads to the formation of relatively fragile cells that are easily damaged when they pass through the spleen. The cell destruction does not occur elsewhere in the body and ends when the spleen is removed. HS can appear at any age, even in newborns, although doctors prefer to put off removing the spleen until the child is five to six years old.


Splenectomy usually required

There are some disorders for which a splenectomy is usually recommended. They include:

  • Immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). ITP is a disease in which platelets are destroyed by antibodies in the body's immune system. A splenectomy is the definitive treatment for this disease and is effective in about 70% of cases of chronic ITP.
  • Trauma. The spleen can be ruptured by blunt as well as penetrating injuries to the chest or abdomen. Car accidents are the most common cause of blunt traumatic injury to the spleen.
  • Abscesses. Abscesses of the spleen are relatively uncommon but have a high mortality rate.
  • Rupture of the splenic artery. This artery sometimes ruptures as a complication of pregnancy.
  • Hereditary elliptocytosis. This is a relatively rare disorder. It is similar to HS in that it is characterized by red blood cells with defective membranes that are destroyed by the spleen.

Splenectomy sometimes required

Other disorders may or may not necessitate a splenectomy. These include:

  • Hodgkin's disease, a serious form of cancer that causes the lymph nodes to enlarge. A splenectomy is often performed in order to find out how far the disease has progressed.
  • Autoimmune hemolytic disorders. These disorders may appear in patients of any age but are most common in adults over 50. The red blood cells are destroyed by antibodies produced by the patient's own body (autoantibodies).
  • Myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis is a disorder in which bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue. It produces severe and painful splenomegaly. A splenectomy does not cure myelofibrosis but may be performed to relieve pain caused by the swelling of the spleen.
  • Thalassemia. Thalassemia is a hereditary form of anemia that is most common in people of Mediterranean origin. A splenectomy is sometimes performed if the patient's spleen has become painfully enlarged.

Demographics

In the United States, splenomegaly affects as many as 30% of full-term newborns and about 10% of healthy children. Approximately 3% of healthy first-year college students also have spleens that are large enough to be felt when a doctor palpates the abdomen. Some specific causes of splenomegaly are more common in certain racial or ethnic groups. For example, splenomegaly is a common complication of sickle cell disease in patients of African or Mediterranean ancestry. In other parts of the world, splenomegaly is frequently caused by malaria, schistosomiasis, and other infections in areas where these diseases are endemic.

Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is a disorder is most common in people of northern European descent but has been found in all races. A family history of HS increases the risk of developing this disorder.

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is much more common in children, with male and female children being equally afflicted. Female predominance begins at puberty and continues in adult patients. Overall, 70% of patients with ITP are female; 72% of women diagnosed with ITP are over 40 years old.

Description

Complete splenectomy


REMOVAL OF ENLARGED SPLEEN. A splenectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The most common technique is used to remove greatly enlarged spleens. After the surgeon makes a cut (incision) in the abdomen, the artery to the spleen is tied to prevent blood loss and reduce the size of the spleen. Tying the splenic artery also keeps the spleen from further sequestration of blood cells. The surgeon detaches the ligaments holding the spleen in place and removes the organ. In many cases, tissue samples will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

REMOVAL OF RUPTURED SPLEEN. When the spleen has been ruptured by trauma, the surgeon approaches the organ from its underside and ties the splenic artery before removing the ruptured organ.


Partial splenectomy

In some cases, the surgeon removes only part of the spleen. This procedure is considered by some to be a useful compromise that reduces pain caused by an enlarged spleen while leaving the patient less vulnerable to infection.


Laparoscopic splenectomy

Laparoscopic splenectomy, or removal of the spleen through several small incisions, has been performed more frequently in recent years. Laparoscopic surgery, which is sometimes called keyhole surgery, is done with smaller surgical instruments inserted through very short incisions, with the assistance of a tiny camera and video monitor. Laparoscopic procedures reduce the length of hospital stay, the level of postoperative pain, and the risk of infection. They also leave smaller scars.

As of 2003, however, a laparoscopic procedure is contraindicated if the patient's spleen is greatly enlarged. Most surgeons will not remove a spleen longer than 20 cm (as measured by a CT scan) by this method.


Diagnosis/Preparation

The most important part of a medical assessment in disorders of the spleen is the measurement of splenomegaly. The normal spleen cannot be felt when the doctor palpates the patient's abdomen. A spleen that is large enough to be felt indicates splenomegaly. In some cases, the doctor will hear a dull sound when he or she thumps (percusses) the patient's abdomen near the ribs on the left side. Imaging studies that can be used to confirm splenomegaly include ultrasound tests, technetium-99m sulfur colloid imaging, and CT scans . The rate of platelet or red blood cell destruction by the spleen can also be measured by tagging blood cells with radioactive chromium or platelets with radioactive indium.

Preoperative preparation for a splenectomy procedure usually includes:

  • Correction of abnormalities of blood clotting and the number of red blood cells.
  • Treatment of any infections.
  • Control of immune reactions. Patients are usually given protective vaccinations about a month before surgery. The most common vaccines used are Pneumovax or Pnu-Imune 23 (against pneumococcal infections) and Menomune-A/C/Y/W-135 (against meningococcal infections).

Aftercare

Immediately following surgery, patients are given instructions for incision care and medications intended to prevent infection. Blood transfusions may be indicated for some patients to replace defective blood cells. The most important part of aftercare, however, is long-term caution regarding vulnerability to infection. Patients are asked to see their doctor at once if they have a fever or any other sign of infection, and to avoid travel to areas where exposure to malaria or similar diseases is likely. 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.


Risks

The main risk of a splenectomy procedure is overwhelming bacterial infection, or postsplenectomy sepsis. This condition results from the body's decreased ability to clear bacteria from the blood, and lowered levels of a protein in blood plasma that helps to fight viruses (immunoglobulin M). The risk of dying from infection after undergoing a splenectomy is highest in children, especially in the first two years after surgery. The risk of postsplenectomy sepsis can be reduced by vaccinations before the operation. Some doctors also recommend a two-year course of penicillin following splenectomy, or long-term treatment with ampicillin.

Other risks associated with the procedure include inflammation of the pancreas and collapse of the lungs. In some cases, a splenectomy does not address the underlying causes of splenomegaly or other conditions. Excessive bleeding after the operation is an additional possible complication, particularly for patients with ITP. Infection of the incision immediately following surgery may also occur.


Normal results

Results depend on the reason for the operation. In blood disorders, the splenectomy will remove the cause of the blood cell destruction. Normal results for patients with an enlarged spleen are relief of pain and the complications of splenomegaly. It is not always possible, however, to predict which patients will respond well or to what degree.

Recovery from the operation itself is fairly rapid. Hospitalization is usually less than a week (one to two days for laparoscopic splenectomy), and complete healing usually occurs within four to six weeks. Patients are encouraged to return to such normal activities as showering, driving, climbing stairs, light lifting and work as soon as they feel comfortable. Some patients may return to work in a few days while others prefer to rest at home a little longer.


Morbidity and mortality rates

The outcome of the procedure varies with the underlying disease or the extent of other injuries. Rates of complete recovery from the surgery itself are excellent, in the absence of other severe injuries or medical problems.

Splenectomy for HS patients is usually delayed in children until the age of five to prevent unnecessary infections; reported outcomes are very good.

Studies of patients with ITP show that 80%–90% of children achieve spontaneous and complete remission in two to eight weeks. A small percentage develop chronic or persistent ITP, but 61% show complete remission by 15 years. No deaths in patients older than 15 have been attributed to ITP.


Alternatives

As of 2003 there are no medical alternatives to removing the spleen.

Splenic embolization is a surgical alternative to splenectomy that is used in some patients who are poor candidates for surgery. Embolization involves plugging or blocking the splenic artery with synthetic substances to shrink the size of the spleen. The substances that are injected during this procedure include polyvinyl alcohol foam, polystyrene, and silicone.

See also Gastroduodenostomy ; Pancreatectomy .


Resources

BOOKS

Hiatt, J. R., Phillips, E. H., and L. Morgenstern, eds. Surgical Diseases of the Spleen . New York: Springer Verlag, 1997.

Wilkins, B. S., and D. H. Wright. Illustrated Pathology of the Spleen . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

PERIODICALS

Al-Salem A. H., and Z. Nasserulla. "Splenectomy for Children with Thalassemia." Internal Surgery 87 (October-December 2002): 269-273.

Duperier, T., J. Felsherm, and F. Brody. "Laparoscopic Splenectomy for Evans Syndrome." Surgical Laparoscopy, Endoscopy & Percutaneous Techniques 13 (February 2003): 45-47.

Schwartz, J., M. D. Leber, S. Gillis, et al. "Long-Term Follow-Up After Splenectomy Performed for Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)." American Journal of Hematology 72 (February 2003): 94-98.

Svarch, E., I. Nordet, J. Valdes, et al. "Partial Splenectomy in Children with Sickle Cell Disease." Haematologica 88 (February 2003): 281-287.

ORGANIZATIONS

American College of Gastroenterology. 4900 B South 31st St., Arlington, VA 22206. (703) 820-7400. http://www.acg.gi.org

American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). 4930 Del Ray Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. (301) 654-2055. http://www.gastro.org

National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI Public Inquiries Office, Suite 3036A, 6116 Executive Boulevard, MSC8322 Bethesda, MD 20892-8322. (800) 422-6237. http://www.cancer.gov

OTHER

The Body Homepage. Spleen Cancer . <www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Cancer/Archive/othertypes/Q141422.ht l> .

Yoursurgery.com . Splenectomy . <www.yoursurgery.com/ProcedureDetails.cfm?BR=1&Proc=46� 3E; .

Teresa Norris, RN Monique Laberge, Ph. D.

WHO PERFORMS THE PROCEDURE AND WHERE IS IT PERFORMED?



A splenectomy is performed by a surgeon trained in gastroenterology, the branch of medicine that deals with the diseases of the digestive tract. An anesthesiologist is responsible for administering anesthesia and the operation is performed in a hospital setting.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR



  • What happens on the day of surgery?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used?
  • How long will it take to recover from the surgery?
  • When can I expect to return to work and resume normal activities?
  • What are the risks associated with a splenectomy?
  • How many splenectomies do you perform in a year?
  • Will I have a large scar?


User Contributions:

Tiffany
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Feb 8, 2007 @ 5:17 pm
I was having pains I went to 2 doctors and they told me I was pregnant. I took the test in the office and they came back positive, I had them take blood to make sure. That came out negative. I finaly went to a 3rd doctor who had found that my splen was enlarged due to Epstine Bar and had it removed. It has been 5 years and I am trying to conceve. I was wondering if me not having a splen will cause urine pregnacy test to come out wrong like they did before it was removed.
N
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Nov 10, 2007 @ 2:02 am
A splenectomy is performed by a surgeon trained in gastroenterology, the branch of medicine that deals with the diseases of the digestive tract. An anesthesiologist is responsible for administering anesthesia and the operation is performed in a hospital setting
Michael McIntyre
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Nov 23, 2008 @ 8:20 pm
How many splenectomy procedures take place annually in the US?
daddywallace
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Mar 25, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
I just wanted to know how long it takes to recover from a spleenectomy and if i can go back to my job and perform just like i did before this ever happened? Also does it hurt when you get these metal staples out of your stomach?
Mukiibi Rebecca
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Apr 19, 2009 @ 5:05 am
The article is so good i liked it because it sensetise us about the pre disposing factors and what it is done to prevent this.More so it helped me when i was doing my research about spenectomy and was going to discuss this in class.thak you
tara
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May 24, 2009 @ 7:19 pm
i have a question. If you have a splenectomy, could you tell the risk of a doctor hitting the pancreas? And if so...if the octor would tell that , that has happened...what can happen? what will happen?
wajid
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Jun 6, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
what are the contraindications for open splenectomy?
kaela
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Oct 26, 2009 @ 3:15 pm
Do you get sick alot after the spleen is taken out ?
Shazan Sayani
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Nov 5, 2009 @ 6:06 am
heya !!! i had spleenectomy in 2005 n its been so long but people are thinking that m still unfit i cant live like a normal people ??? is that true???
Melissa
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Nov 7, 2009 @ 3:03 am
I just wanted to add for anyone who is reading this with ITP. There IS now an alternative to a splenectomy... there are a couple alternatives actually but the big one is called Rituxan infusions. They give it to you intravenously for at least 4 weeks and it helps "rewire" your body to stop attacking your platelets. I started Rituxan with platelet levels of 22,000 and they are now up to 139,000 after 3 treatments and I'm down to 10mg of prednisone. Rituxan works best pre-splenectomy though. Please talk with your Dr. about other alternatives because a splenectomy is not always the solution (sometimes it can actually be your liver causing the problem) and it's best to consider all your options before you start removing organs!
Maggie petrig
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Dec 3, 2009 @ 8:08 am
My son, who is 28, had a splenectomy and he seems to get sick more often now, is this do to losing his spleen two years ago. he gets colds, flu systoms, diaerhrea, just several illnesses he never had before. Could this be the reason?
Dr Vivek Batra
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Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:00 am
In a female whose splenectomy has been done, what are the risks of a pregnancy? can the female patient in question go ahead and plan a pregnancy. what are the precautions she should be taking? Thanks.
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Feb 20, 2010 @ 5:05 am
I was diagnose as ITP and had an splenectomy operation after, I was young when i have ITP and being operated at the age of 19 years old. After operation i always got sick colds and flu is all the time i have it and now I am here in Europe there are times my operation hurts me specially this year 2010, I write this because I am afraid of what will really happen, I am also sick while i send a comment, everytime I will cough it will really hurt my operation. Is this normal to have pain in my operation? It feels like i have a cut. And I just married last year October 2009 and I am planning to have a baby is there any complications to get pregnant?
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May 11, 2010 @ 7:19 pm
On November 2003 when I was 18, I got shot by robbers. I had splenectomy two days later. I had lots of complications afterwards, I was transfused like 4 times. On March 2004, I was seriously sick and I went back to the hospital but by then, my doctor had traveled to Germany for a program. I was admitted for 3 weeks for diarrhea and painful stomach cramps. Since the splenectomy thing, my life has never been the same. I now react to things i don't react to ordinarily. I can get really sick from eating fast foods.

I went into college to study Nursing( that's on 2007 to help manage my condition. I'd be graduating this year by November. I am managing myself better by now but I still get sick every now and then especially when I get involved in theatre work(s).

Asplenia is a big issue but most people don't know.

Please if you are taking pills for complications and all, check with your doctor and do research on your own before you take them because EVERY DRUG is a POTENTIAL POISON.
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May 11, 2010 @ 9:21 pm
On November 2003 when I was 18, I got shot by robbers. I had splenectomy two days later. I had lots of complications afterwards, I was transfused like 4 times. On March 2004, I was seriously sick and I went back to the hospital but by then, my doctor had traveled to Germany for a program. I was admitted for 3 weeks for diarrhea and painful stomach cramps. Since the splenectomy thing, my life has never been the same. I now react to things i don't react to ordinarily. I can get really sick from eating fast foods.

I went into college to study Nursing( that's on 2007 to help manage my condition. I'd be graduating this year by November. I am managing myself better by now but I still get sick every now and then especially when I get involved in theatre work(s).

Asplenia is a big issue but most people don't know.

Please if you are taking pills for complications and all, check with your doctor and do research on your own before you take them because EVERY DRUG is a POTENTIAL POISON.
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Aug 26, 2010 @ 6:06 am
My yonger, brother is required for splentoctomy and i am worried about it. please do help me to write about it?
Maria Horn
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Nov 3, 2010 @ 10:22 pm
My son is 25 and had a spleenectomy in 2005. His surgeon gave him several vaccinations while in the hospital and told him to repeat these every five years. He is now due to have these. His surgeon is no longer practicing and the office has been closed. Where would we find his records from the doctors office and what are the follow -up vaccinations?
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Nov 6, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
how much will my Platlets increse?Will i be susseptable to a lot of infections? can i live a normal life?
facelift sydney
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Dec 19, 2010 @ 10:22 pm
Thanks for the post. the article above is really knowledgeable.
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Dec 22, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
i am a man and i had spleenoctomy 2 years back is there any side effect of making a baby from my side?
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Mar 2, 2011 @ 5:05 am
This article is very informative.
I want to ask some questions what happen after surgery or what are we expected will happen after the surgery and what shoul we do if we got complication.

Thanks
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Apr 18, 2011 @ 5:05 am
My aunt just undergone urgent splenectomy after sepsis complicaton, the doctors opted to do high risk surgery since she already have difficulty of breathing as the enlarged spleen is pushing her diaphragm that causes the problem. I am just sharing my aunt's situation to also ask for any ideas for the management post-op from any medical team readers. thank you
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May 1, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
I had a splenectomy after a car accident when aged 12. As I understand it, little was then known about the function of the spleen (1974) and I had no infection warnings or immunizations as a result of the splenectomy. From then on I had frequent respiratory infections (eg. bronchitis, 'flu, epstein-barr, cytomegalovirus), which were unusually severe. When I contracted HIV in 2001 I didn't immediately commence anti retroviral therapy (ART) as I had a 'normal' T-cell count. Notwithstanding, I progressed to AIDS within 3 years (PCP, esophageal candida, moderate AIDS dementia, and even oral hairy leukaplaqia (indicative of a T-cell count of 50). At this point it was realized that my lack of spleen rendered the T-cell count test results invalid, as depleted T-cells were not being removed from circulation due to my lack of spleen, and the T-cell count test does not discriminate between functional and depleted T-cells. Less than half of the doctors I've seen since then (and there have been many) are aware of this implication of splenectomy.
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May 16, 2011 @ 2:02 am
WHAT ARE THE ONTRAINDICATIONS FOR SPLENECTOMY?
ARE THERE ANY ABSOLUTE CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR THE SAME ?
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Oct 2, 2011 @ 3:15 pm
I had a speenectomy 28 years ago. I am 32 now. Are there any risks to be considered if you want to get pregnant?
Theresa
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Oct 3, 2011 @ 12:12 pm
Has anyone had a spleen removed due to polycyethemia vera?
mutasim anwar
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May 11, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
the procedure which the red blood cells that have 120day how to dispose from it after splenctomy
SPLEENLESS
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May 24, 2012 @ 6:18 pm
I'm 29 and at 4 years old they took out my spleen due to car accident. Lately I've been having pain where my spleen used to be. Last year my urologist scanned my body(kidney stone) and as he was explaining the scan to me, he pointed to the area and said "and this is your spleen".. I told him I dont have a spleen and he said oh..well than its your kidney...
Can my kidney be crawling into where my spleen used to be? Can doctors tell if my organs are moving around and if they are, can they do anything about it? Its starting to worry me a lot. I think exercise makes it worse.
Kevin
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Jun 6, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
At least 10 percent of splenectomy patients grow new spleens...if that's you then you need to celebrate, you are very lucky...
Ramesh
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Jun 28, 2012 @ 5:05 am
Does spleen removal affects the fertility rates in males
Werner
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Jun 28, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
I am aware of the fact that patients whom had a splenectomy has to get a pneumococcus vaccine, and this is a schedule 4 medicine. Is the vaccine available on the day of visit to the doctor...thus..is it given in the room or do you have to get a prescription for it?
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Jul 19, 2012 @ 11:11 am
2 weeks ago I was bucked off my horse. I was unconscious for a while and taken by ambulance to the hospital. My spleen was ruptured, I had 3 broken ribs and some damage to one of my kidneys. Within an hour or so I had my spleen removed.
The question I have now is should I still be having bad stomache pains as well as a terrible headache ? Chest and neck pain and absolutely no appetite.
I dont see the doctor for 4 more days to have the staples removed but wondering if i should try to get in sooner because of the above.
Trinity
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Jul 25, 2012 @ 11:11 am
I have had a splenectomy just recently due to a rare blood disorder i have called pyruvate kinese defiancy my spleen was also enlarged it was roughly about the size of both my fists clenched next to each other, the procuder happend approximately 4 weeks from this Friday and it was done laproscopic, I was curious is there stuff that I can't eat or drink or do? A mates mum who is a nurse for age care people said that I wouldn't be aloud to eat junk food and not aloud to drink alcohol I am a 19 year old girl who hasn't really lived a normal party girl life for my age due to being so tired and sick, so before I go out and possibly do harm to myself I would really like to know what the can and can'ts are after this procedure because I really dont want to kill myself by trying to be normal like my friends for the first time of my life!!
hayder
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Jul 27, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
whats the preperations that can be done by the anasthetist to prepare the patient for splenectomy?and how can he manage his patient perioperativly and whats the important things that the anasthesist should take care of it pre,peri and postoperativly?
Bill
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Aug 11, 2012 @ 7:19 pm
Great questions! where do I find the answers? I am 59 years old and had my ruptured spleen removed 2 and 1/2 weeks ago, I am progessing a bit everyday however I tire very easily and still have some pain which seems to be reducing daily as well. I have no idea what to expect in medium or long term??
James Monserrate
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Aug 17, 2012 @ 2:02 am
Splenic embolization who long will I have pain? It has been 3 weeks
since the procedure. I take my pain pills every 8 hours to prevent
the pain from getting worse. My procedure went well my platelets
increased from 29,000 to over 200,000 and and my white blood cells
Increased to normal rate within 2 to 3 days. The doctor only stopped
the blood to half of my spleen. But it hurts what are your thoughts?

Thank you
Jim Monserrate

Please respond thanks
J.McIlroy
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Sep 10, 2012 @ 5:05 am
Hi, I had a Splenectomy eight years ago,I'm 51, because of a very low blood count. I was devastated. However when I went to see my doctor he said to me "treat this as a sports accident and get on with your life". That was the best advice I was given, I live a normal life, I have colds and flu's just like anyone else, I eat as healthily as I can, without being extreme. And most importantly try to keep my weight down. Life will throw many unexpected traumas in a life time, but it is up to the individual to get up and get on with it, and not to wallow in self- pity. Think positive and enjoy each day as a gift.
Mel
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Nov 1, 2012 @ 4:04 am
I had my spleen removed 40 years ago and am the proud father of three - I don't think it has affected my fertility. Frustrating thing is the recurring infections that are relativley minor if you have a spleen but when they keep reoccurring for months and months can be very frustrating and depressing and frightening - this seems to be worse in the winter?
One is tempted to avoid contact with others to avoid infection but you have to live.
I am interested to know if there are any useful strategies - ie foods drugs etc that anyone has found beneficial post splenectomy? Daily antibiotics are recommended in the UK but I find they make me feel nauseous.
A sister on intensive care warned me that from getting a sore throat to deceased can be as quick as 48 hours so its very important to keep your antibiotics at the ready. Also get good advice before travelling as some bugs are resistant to penicillin. Another frustration is the lack of understanding and consideration for this disability and the frustration of explaining how you are incapacitated by a cold or tummy bug that everyone else shrugs off in a few days.
Nicole Alfred- Cannonier
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Nov 28, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
I will be having my spleen removed in one week, my diagnoses is ITP.I was diagnosed three years ago at age 40. I've gotten all the best treatment including N-PLATE, but for some reason nothing worked, so my last resort is splenectomy surgery because I'm tired of being sick and tired.
khurshid
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Dec 26, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
my wife had splenectomy before 10 months due to itp,but plt count not increases.now she is pregnant and got high blood sugar,plt count also below 10 thousand.is it safe pregnancy?
juliet
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Jan 14, 2013 @ 9:09 am
my son is now 15 years old he did a splenectomy at age 4 years old his blood count is still high . he is still on asprin from surgery, is this bad for him
gord
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Feb 4, 2013 @ 11:11 am
Hi all like Mel I had my spleen removed many years ago 30 years or so ago after a motor bike crash I have lead a very good life and the father of 2 great boys and done most things I take the pills all the time to stop u getting bad infections don't suffer to much from colds ete ete but when I do they seem to last forever I just wonder if there is any of you guys who have had there spleens removed years ago have any later problem in life I'm getting a lot of pain on the left side of my body seems to be getting worse as I get older I'm 52 now
Michelle
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Feb 17, 2013 @ 7:19 pm
My mother had a splenectomy about 7 months ago for the treatment of hemolytic anemia. Her blood levels intially went up but are now slowly dropping again. How long after a splenectomy should you start seeing results? Her doctor is pushing her to start other forms of treatment. Should she wait awhile to see if her levels go back up?
Alan
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Mar 8, 2013 @ 2:02 am
I'm a 57y guy with treated stage ii multiple-cancer diag ie: prostate,esophageal & NHLymphoma - my spleen
Has enlarged and giving pain , verified thru MRI & cat scans -- I've put off approving spleen
Removal due to impending infections and future complications to my already compromised lymph system by NHL .ps: ( radiation & surgery only -have not done any chemo yet)
What is the estimate quantity of life after a spleen is removed ? Thanks
Karen Loveland
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Mar 16, 2013 @ 10:10 am
Can I donate my organs if I had my spleen removed due to ITP? I know in WV I can not donate blood because my splenectomy was performed because of a blood disorder If the splenectomy was a result of an accident you can donate blood. I have contacted many organizations but no one is able to give me an answer.

I had ITP in 1985. After massive daily doses of prednisone & two different chemo drugs (cytoxin & vincristin) I had a spleenectomy. I lead a perfectly normal life but if I get sick (flu, cold, etc) it takes a long time to recover. I get yearly flu shot & pneumacocal (not sure of spelling) shots & any other necessary innoculation.

After multiple spleen scans being performed before my surgery you would have thought my doctor would have realized my spleen was not where it should be. The first thing I remember after waking up is my doctor telling me "I cut you extra big." My incision starts below my left breast at a downward angle for about 5 inches. Then it continues straight down my belly almost to my hysterectomy bikini scar. It looks like a slightly distorted "L" on my chest. Since my last name starts with "L" I joke that I am marked with my initial like Lavern (Lavern & Shirley TV show) wore an "L" on all her clothes.
lauren
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Apr 17, 2013 @ 8:20 pm
Hey, I had my spleen removed because I have ITP, I had it out in 2011 and nealy every month I end up in hospital with infections, if I was you I would try other things be4 having your spleen out, I have been in hospital nealy every month 4 2 years and still is on going, its up 2 you what you want to do, I just dont want it 2 happen 2 other people, it gets to me and I get so stressed and down.
Sandy
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Jul 21, 2013 @ 6:18 pm
I was dx'd with NH lymphoma 5 years ago--a 3and 1/2 lb spleen removed.I year later a thorocotomy for a benegn lesion. I have been chronically ill since the spleenectomy. Frequent viral like episodes with N&V the first 2-3 days then following a very "wiped out" period. Basically, I will have 2-3 weeks feeling OK. Then the gastric viral like stuff
sets in. Mt life is basically nil. I am or was a very healthy young 72. I spend most of my life in a recliner no appetite high white and platelet counts.After going through this week after week, I became very depressed. No MD seems to have an inkling what the problem is. I am really concerned the docs will start or haven't already see me as a flake. I do not know where to turn, I have even thought there is no purpose to this SUFFERING.Infectious disease found their studies neg, as did my oncologist. What type of physician can I appeal to. I think the lymphoma ia in remission, my gut tells me its something gastric related to the huge spleen and rearrangement of all my abdominal and chest cavities. Does anyone share any of this. I want to live but passing on seems like a welcome reprieve. I have also been RX'D for a mac lung disease--and 9 months of horrible antibiotics, also for a staph infection in lungs--both after the thorocotomy
rajiv
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Aug 6, 2013 @ 5:05 am
my friends spleen was removed on february 2013. now he want to mary, is any risk to him and his child. is any chance of asplenia in his child that is due to fathers spleen was removed ? is asplenia heriditiery ?reply me
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Jan 15, 2014 @ 10:10 am
Calm down, everyone ... for heaven's sake. A splenectomy is not the end of the world. I can't believe the hysteria I am reading here ... people wanting to kill themselves because they have to have a splenectomy?? Get a grip.

You can live just fine after a splenectomy; you just have to get vaccines and follow a few extra precautions. You'll probably catch a few more colds and get bronchitis a bit more than before, but that's about it. I have not heard one word from my medical team about not being allowed to drink, eat fast food, etc. If you are being given that advice, it's not coming from a doctor or you are misunderstanding what you are being told.

Be glad you're just having a splenectomy and move on with your life in a calm and mature fashion. You could have had pancreatic cancer like me, and had a distal pancreatectomy, a splenectomy, a pancreatic fistula, a staph infection, a stomach perforation, a broken JP Drain, and urine retention requiring self-cathing and a Foley. And *I'M* still walking around smiling, working, and not feeling sorry for myself ... and this was about 5 months ago.

If you find you can't calm down about a simple thing like a splenectomy, and it makes you want to "kill yourself", my advice is to call emergency services or see a psychiatrist as you obviously need meds and therapy of some kind.

Best of luck.
Darla Mathews
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Feb 27, 2014 @ 8:20 pm
If my Oncologist denies me from removing my enlarged spleen, what other doctor would authorize this procedure? I have CML and took chemotherapy for several years. I no longer wish to continue chemo, and there's no cure yet. I am 60 years of age and have had a good life. I just want to be more comfortable during my few remaining years. I understand the risks and just want this procedure done. I need to find a Minnesota doctor to authorize this surgery which will have to also be approved with my Minnesota Care Insurance. Please help.

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