Site Map

Spleen removal

Splenectomy; Laparoscopic splenectomy; Spleen removal - laparoscopic

Spleen removal is surgery to remove a diseased or damaged spleen. This surgery is called splenectomy.

The spleen is in the upper part of the belly, on the left side underneath the ribcage. The spleen helps the body fight germs and infections. It also helps filter the blood.

Images

Red blood cells, target cells

Presentation

Spleen removal - series

Description

The spleen is removed while you are under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). The surgeon may do either an open splenectomy or a laparoscopic splenectomy.

During open spleen removal:

During laparoscopic spleen removal:

With laparoscopic surgery, recovery is often faster and less painful than with open surgery. Talk to your surgeon about which type of surgery is right for you or your child.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Conditions that may require spleen removal include:

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for this surgery include:

Risks are the same for both open and laparoscopic spleen removal.

Before the Procedure

You or your child will have many visits with health care providers and several tests before surgery. You may have:

If you smoke, you should try to stop. Smoking increases your risk for problems such as slow healing. Ask your provider for help quitting.

Tell the provider:

During the week before surgery:

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

You or your child will spend less than a week in the hospital. The hospital stay may be only 1 or 2 days after a laparoscopic splenectomy. Healing will likely take 4 to 6 weeks.

After going home, follow instructions on taking care of yourself or your child.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome of this surgery depends on what disease or injuries you or your child has. People who do not have other severe injuries or medical problems often recover after this surgery.

After the spleen is removed, a person is more likely to develop infections. Talk with your provider about getting needed vaccinations, particularly the yearly flu vaccine. Children may need to take antibiotics to prevent infections. Most adults do not need antibiotics long-term.

Related Information

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
Hemolytic anemia
Hereditary spherocytic anemia
Hodgkin lymphoma
Surgical wound care - open
When you have nausea and vomiting
Spleen removal - child - discharge
Laparoscopic spleen removal in adults - discharge
Open spleen removal in adults - discharge

References

Brandow AM, Camitta BM. Hyposplenism, splenic trauma, and splenectomy. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 514.

Liveris A, Muscarella P. Management of cysts, tumors, and abscesses of the spleen. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:612-616.

Nassar AK, Hawn M. The spleen. In: Townsend CM, Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 57.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 3/15/2021  

Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery Practice Specializing in Breast Cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo
Health Content Provider
06/01/2025

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2022 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.