April 11, 2020
A full, or partial, splenectomy may be necessary if you have problems with your spleen.
The spleen plays important multiple supporting roles in the body. Firstly, it acts as a filter for blood as part of the body’s immune system. Secondly, old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen. Interestingly, platelets and white blood cells are stored there, too.
The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.
Although the spleen is an organ that intervenes and supports in the body’s defense system, in some cases, it can increase in size due to alterations of the blood cells. Other problems that can arise include tumors or abscesses that make its removal necessary. The removal of the spleen is called a splenectomy.
Having a Splenectomy: Can I live without my spleen?
Well, the spleen filters blood and helps the body fight infections, but it’s not essential for survival. The spleen can be removed if, for instance, it becomes damaged. However, it is important to know that people without a spleen are more prone to infections.
If there are no other options and you need to have your spleen removed, then the liver takes over many of the spleen’s functions. This means that the body can still cope with most infections.
What Options Do I Have?
In previous years, the only option was a total splenectomy (full removal of the spleen), which is performed laparoscopically. Nowadays, however, there is a more conservative approach and only the portion of the spleen affected is removed. This helps because it allows continued and adequate defense of the body.
This surgery requires special skills since it is a very fragile and important organ. Currently, it is possible to perform a partial splenectomy laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) with very good results. In some cases, it is still necessary to perform a total splenectomy if the patient’s condition requires it.
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