Laparoscopic Splenectomy

The spleen is a small fist-sized organ that is located in the upper left side of your belly (abdomen). This organ helps fight infection, stores blood, and gets rid of old red blood cells. A splenectomy is surgical removal of the spleen. A splenectomy is sometimes used for some blood diseases, a tumor, or because of an injury to your spleen.

What is a laparoscopic splenectomy?

A laparoscopic (lap-er-uh-skop-ic) splenectomy is a type of surgery used to remove the spleen. A special device called a laparoscope is used. Small (about one inch) incisions are made to allow the insertion of the laparoscope and surgical instruments. Attached to the laparoscope is a special tiny TV camera. The surgeon removes the spleen by looking at a magnified view of the spleen and surrounding areas on a monitor.

What are the benefits?

A laparoscopic splenectomy requires a shorter hospital stay, less pain after surgery, have less scarring and faster healing than traditional surgery. With a laparoscopic splenectomy there is minimal risk of damage to surrounding structures.

What are the risks?

The possible risks are:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to nearby structures and organs.

Will I require any tests before surgery?

Your doctor may order blood work and a CT scan or ultrasound of your abdomen.

How should I prepare for surgery?

The body's immune system is weakened with the removal of the spleen. As a safeguard you will receive vaccinations before surgery. The night before your surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke, chew tobacco or gum the morning of your surgery. You will be contacted as to what time to arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery. You may want to bring some comfort items from home for your brief hospital stay.

What should I expect after surgery?

The usual hospital stay is one to two days. Some patients may need to stay longer. After surgery, you will need to take special medicines. It is important that you take these medicines as ordered by your doctor. You will be able to return to work and your normal routine in two to three weeks. Avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks.