Splenectomy is a treatment in which your spleen gets surgically removed. This procedure can reduce pain and bleeding caused by a ruptured or damaged spleen. It can also treat cysts and tumors in the spleen and cancers, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Here’s more about what happens during splenectomy and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates if you need intestinal surgery.

What Is a Splenectomy?

Splenectomy, also known as spleen removal, is the surgical removal of the spleen. The spleen is an organ located on the left upper part of your abdomen under the rib cage. Its job is to filter toxins and old cells from the bloodstream and help your body fight infection.

The most common reason for spleen removal is a ruptured spleen, usually caused by an abdominal injury such as a blow to the stomach during football. Splenectomy may also treat conditions including blood clots in the spleen, infections, sickle cell anemia and cancer, among many others.

What Happens During a Splenectomy?

Splenectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia in an inpatient setting. It can be performed as an open surgery or as a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.

First, your surgeon will make one or more incisions in your abdominal area near your spleen. Next, if you are having open surgery, the surgeon will move muscles and tissues aside to access the spleen for removal.

If you are having laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon will insert a small, thin tube with a tiny camera (called a laparoscope) into your abdomen. This allows your surgeon to view the inside of your abdomen more clearly so the spleen can be carefully removed through a series of small incisions.

After your spleen is removed, your incision(s) will be closed, and you will be taken to another room for recovery.

What Is the Difference Between Open vs Laparoscopic Splenectomy?

Open splenectomy is the traditional method of spleen removal and is more invasive than laparoscopic surgery. It requires your surgeon to make one long incision versus several tiny incisions. Open splenectomy is often associated with a longer recovery time, a longer hospital stay and a greater risk of mortality.

Laparoscopic splenectomy is minimally invasive because it can be performed using smaller incisions and is associated with a shorter downtime and recovery period. It is also associated with a reduced risk of pain and complications, including death.

Your surgeon may recommend laparoscopic splenectomy as a first-line treatment, though in some instances, open surgery may be required when there is scar tissue buildup near the spleen or when the spleen cannot be fully removed through tiny incisions. Your surgeon can recommend the right type of surgery for you based on your condition.

Who Needs a Splenectomy?

Splenectomy can be performed to treat a wide range of conditions that affect the spleen. Conditions that can be treated with splenectomy include:

  • Ruptured spleen
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Blood clots in the spleen
  • Blood disorders, including idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and thalassemia
  • Cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Infections in the spleen
  • Cysts, abscesses or tumors in the spleen
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Leukemia
  • Overactive spleen, known as hypersplenism
  • Sickle cell anemia

What Can I Expect After a Splenectomy?

Splenectomy requires a hospital stay regardless of whether you have open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Open surgery usually requires a hospital stay of five to seven days, while laparoscopic surgery may require a hospital stay of only one to two days.

In all, splenectomy recovery lasts between four to six weeks. During this time, your surgeon may ask you to refrain from exposing your incisions to water and from driving and doing exercise and other strenuous activities. You can gradually resume your daily activities over time as you start feeling better. Your surgeon will also talk to you about the importance of maintaining good health without a spleen, as you may be at greater risk for illnesses and infections.


Request an appointment with Advanced Laparoscopic Associates today to find out whether you’re a candidate for splenectomy. We can talk to you in greater detail about how this procedure works and whether it can benefit you.

For additional information, all prospective patients are invited to attend a free educational seminar.
Seminars are a great source of information about the procedure you are considering, and they allow you to meet the surgeons as well as ask any questions you may have. You may also have the opportunity to meet some post-operative patients.

Seminar Sign-up

Call (201) 646-1121 today and schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons!


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