The spleen is an organ that sits in the left abdomen under the ribs next to the pancreas and colon. Its main function is to act as a blood filter, removing old red blood cells and platelets. It can also fight against certain bacterial infections.
Why may a splenectomy be recommended?
A surgeon may decide to remove the spleen after major trauma to the body resulting in spleen rupture. It may also be recommended by a Haematologist (blood specialist) or an Oncologist (cancer specialist). This is usually performed as an elective procedure.
The operation is performed laparoscopically (keyhole) in the majority of patients and a hospital stay of 2-3 nights is required after surgery.
Since your spleen has a role in immune defence, there are certain vaccinations that are required after surgery. You may also be at increased risk of developing certain infections such as respiratory tract infections and we recommend that you see your GP, haematologist or oncologist for antibiotics at the first signs of sore throat, cough or fever.