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Laparoscopic Splenectomy 

Laparoscopic splenectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to remove a diseased or enlarged spleen.  Your spleen is located to the left of your stomach.  The spleen acts as a filter to help fight infections and maintain the amount of blood in your body by destroying old blood cells.  Certain conditions can cause the spleen to become enlarged or damaged, including, cysts, blood disorders, infection, autoimmune diseases, leukemia, or lymphoma.  You can live without a spleen, and your liver will eventually take over some of its functions.

In the past, traditional open surgery methods were the only option for removing the spleen.  This method was an invasive procedure and required a large incision.  An open splenectomy requires an in-patient stay of up to about a week and up to six weeks for a full recovery.  Laparoscopic splenectomy is an alternative to open traditional surgery for some people.

Laparoscopic splenectomy is performed with a laparoscope.  A laparoscope is a thin viewing instrument with a miniature camera at the end.  The laparoscope is inserted through small incisions.  The camera transmits images to a video screen, which a surgeon uses to guide the surgery.  Thin surgical instruments are passed through the incisions to perform the procedure.  Because only small incisions are necessary for laparoscopic splenectomy, this procedure is associated with less pain, less bleeding, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery time than with traditional open splenectomy methods.

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General anesthesia is used for laparoscopic splenectomy.  Your surgeon will make several small incisions in your abdomen.  Carbon dioxide gas will be inserted into your abdomen through an incision to inflate the area and increase the workspace and view for your surgeon.  Your surgeon will use the laparoscope and thin surgical instruments to place the spleen into a surgical bag prior to removal.  When the splenectomy is completed, the carbon dioxide gas is removed, and the incisions are closed with stitches and bandaged.

You can expect to spend a few days in the hospital following your surgery.  You may experience some temporary shoulder discomfort or pain from the expansion of your abdomen with the carbon dioxide gas.  With laparoscopic surgery, you can expect less pain, less scarring, and a return to your regular activities earlier than with traditional open surgery methods.  Again, you can live without a spleen, and your liver will eventually take over some of its functions.  Your doctor will carefully monitor you during follow-up appointments.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit