A splenectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove a diseased or damaged spleen (the organ that helps filter the blood and fight infections). A splenectomy may be necessary if a patient has an injury to the spleen, a blood clot in nearby blood vessels, blood cell disease (e.g., hemolytic anemia), sickle cell anemia, an abscess or cyst in the spleen, a tumor or cancer that affects the spleen, or cirrhosis of the liver.
Prior to a splenectomy procedure, the surgeon will inflate the abdomen with gas for better visualization and access to the affected area. For an “open” splenectomy, the surgeon will then use 1 long incision that runs across the middle of the abdomen or on the left side of the abdomen below the ribs to remove the spleen. For a “laparoscopic splenectomy” the surgeon will make several small incisions. A small tube with a camera on the end (a laparoscope) and small instruments will be used to remove the spleen.
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