The spleen is a fist-sized organ situated high up in the left side of the abdomen, under your rib cage. Splenectomy is a procedure where the surgeon removes the spleen. Splenectomy is ideally suited to a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) approach as it can be a very inaccessible organ to extract and the subcostal incision used for open surgery tends to be quite painful.
When is a splenectomy done?
Despite the spleen being well protected by the ribcage, the most common indication for splenectomy these days is blunt abdominal trauma. In this setting, it is mostly done with open surgery (laparotomy).
Other indications for splenectomy / spleen surgery includes:
How is splenectomy done?
Before the spleen surgery, you will be given a general anaesthetic. After you are under anaesthetic Dr Cooper will perform either a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) or open (traditional) procedure depending on the size of your spleen.
After splenectomy, you can be more prone to contract certain infections. It is, therefore, standard practice to vaccinate against infections such as pneumococcus, H. influenza and meningococcus pre-operatively.