A splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a patient's spleen. Although the spleen has a role in filtering blood and removing dead red blood cells, a functioning spleen is not necessary in a patient and it can be removed freely either to treat pathologies of the spleen or to treat other conditions.
A splenectomy is indicated for:
- Enlarged spleen
- To diagnose certain types of lymphomas
- To treat wandering spleen, a condition where the spleen detaches from one part of the body and attaches to another part.
- To treat thrombocytopenic pupura, such as Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
- If the spleen has been damaged by trauma, as bleeding from the spleen will continue without abatement
- If the spleen has ruptured
- To treat certain types of porphyria
- If cancer, particularly cancer of the stomach, spreads to the spleen
- To harvest the artery for use to repair an artery in the kidney
Nowadays, most splenectomies are done laproscopically, with open incision only being used in cases of trauma or enlargement.