A splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your entire spleen from your body. This can be done using a laparoscope—a slender tool with a light and camera at the end—or as an open procedure, requiring a larger incision. During the laparoscopic procedure, which is preferred, your surgeon will make three or four incisions in your abdomen. The laparoscope is then inserted through one of the incisions so your surgeon can see your spleen. Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate the operative area and give your surgeon more room to work. Then, your surgeon disconnects your spleen and removes it through the largest incision. Afterward, the openings are closed using sutures.
Procedure Research and Consultation
The preferred method for performing a splenectomy is with a laparoscope, a slender tool with a light and camera at the end. During the laparoscopic procedure, your surgeon will make three or four incisions in your abdomen. The laparoscope is then inserted through one of the incisions so your surgeon can see your spleen. Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate the operative area and give your surgeon more room to work. Then, your surgeon disconnects your spleen and removes it through the largest incision. Afterward, the openings are closed using sutures. If your spleen is too large to be removed using a laparoscope, your surgeon will make a larger, single incision in your abdomen, and remove your spleen through it.
Your spleen may be removed for a number of reasons: Cancer, including lymphoma Blood disorder Infection Enlarged spleenRuptured spleen Cyst or tumor
A procedure that involves a smaller incision and a less invasive technique, shortening recovery time.
General anesthesia is usually used for splenectomy surgery.
Your doctor may recommend a splenectomy because of cancer or other diseases that are affecting your spleen.
While there are risks associated with all surgery, the procedure is considered largely safe and effective. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization, and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
Some of the possible side effects and complications of splenectomy are bleeding, blood clots, infection, and injury to nearby organs.
Some of the possible side effects of general anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the I.V.), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
Alternative to splenectomy surgery includes repairing the spleen, partial removal of the spleen, and reimplantation of splenic tissue.
The risk of not having splenectomy surgery is that a diseased, damaged, or cancerous organ will remain in your body and cause additional health problems.
Many splenectomy patients return to most of their usual routines after their recovery from the procedure. Following a splenectomy, other organs in your body typically take over the functions that were performed by your spleen—making white blood cells to protect you from infection and storing and filtering blood. But splenectomy patients are at an increased risk of other infections and illnesses, so your doctor might recommend that you take extra precautions.
You don’t need a referral to see a surgeon about a splenectomy surgery.
Insurance information Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physicianA complete list of all medications you take on a regular basis, including any over-the-counter medicationYour most recent diagnostic labs and imaging (Not sure where to go? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.)
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
In some cases, it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for a splenectomy. For example, if you have another medical issue, including another surgical procedure or illness, we might wait to perform your splenectomy surgery. Your health and safety are our top priority, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients.
Your surgical team will evaluate the situation and help you make a choice that’s right for you and your health.
Consult the price transparency tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a splenectomy surgery might cost.
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with splenectomy. To obtain an estimate of your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of a splenectomy, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary.
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Follow the directions your care team gives you to prepare for your procedure.
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means you’re breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthesia used in your procedure can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
You’ll arrive several hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork, and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet the members of your care team. An I.V. (intravenous line) may be placed in your hand or arm so medication, including anesthesia, can be administered.When it’s time for your procedure, you will be wheeled into the operating suite.
When it’s time for you to leave the hospital, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of whom specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
You will likely stay in the hospital for one or two days following your splenectomy, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Bring anything you might need for an overnight stay, including a change of underwear, a sweatshirt, robe, glasses or contacts, headphones, and your medications.
It usually takes about an hour for the main effects of general anesthesia to wear off, but you may continue to notice the effects for a day or so.
You will be anesthetized. Your surgeon will make one or more incisions in your abdomen and remove your spleen. Afterward, your incisions will be closed using sutures.
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
A splenectomy procedure usually takes 2-4 hours.
You will be unconscious for the entire procedure and for a few minutes afterward.
While the length of a hospital stay depends on each patient’s individual needs, patients are typically discharged after one or two days.
After the procedure, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will stay until you’re ready to be released.
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you.
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
You will be up and moving around as soon as possible after your splenectomy. Your care team in the hospital will assist you.
Most patients receive pain medication immediately following a splenectomy.
You can return to your regular diet following the procedure, but you might get a full feeling quickly. If you get an upset stomach, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt. It’s also a good idea to drink water and other hydrating fluids.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to ease any discomfort associated with the procedure. You might also have a prescription for antibiotics.
Make sure you have the appropriate groceries for when you arrive home from the splenectomy surgery. If you live alone, you may want to arrange for a friend or family member to check in with you for a few days.
Our associates will help you arrange the postoperative care you’ll need.
Your doctor will likely schedule a follow-up appointment about two weeks after your splenectomy.
Sutures from a splenectomy procedure typically dissolve on their own. You will likely have a scar, but it will fade with time.
Following your splenectomy procedure, your doctor will give you specific instructions about how to care for your wound. Generally, you will need any medications and dressings your care team recommends. You will also need to keep the wound clean as it heals.
If you have an emergency following your procedure, call your surgeon’s office. If you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
Most splenectomy patients are able to return to work and other activities two to six weeks after the surgery. If you have a laparoscopic splenectomy, you will probably be able to resume your normal activities sooner than if you had an open splenectomy.
Watch our surgeons answer common questions.
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