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Spleen Surgery Specialist

Barrington Surgeons, LTD

Surgeon located in Barrington, IL

When surgery is necessary to repair or remove a patient’s spleen, Dr. Wool and Dr. Hoeltgen provide state-of-the-art surgical procedures to help their patients from in and around Barrington, Illinois.

Spleen Surgery Q & A

What Does the Spleen Do?

The spleen stores red blood cells and macrophages, which are specialized white blood cells developed to fight disease. The spleen and the cells it holds filter blood. It is part of the immune system and removes old and damaged blood cells from circulation. It sits in the upper left abdominal area.

Why Would Spleen Surgery Be Necessary?

In most cases, if you need spleen surgery, it is to have the organ removed in a splenectomy. There are several conditions that can lead to this surgery:

  • Autoimmune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is the most common reason. This disease results in a low platelet count due to the body producing antibodies which kill them in the spleen.
  • Hemolytic anemia occurs when the body produces antibodies which kill red blood cells in the spleen.
  • Hereditary conditions such as spherocytosis, sickle cells disease, or thalassemia may lead to the removal of the spleen.
  • Cancers that affect the cells that fight infection, such as lymphoma or leukemia, may require spleen removal if the organ becomes enlarged.
  • Conditions that block the blood supply to the spleen can lead to infection and removal.

How Is the Spleen Removed?

The spleen is removed during traditional open surgeries or during minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures. Most patients have the laparoscopic splenectomy because the recovery time is faster, it is less painful, and results in less scarring. During a laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon will make a few small incisions in the abdomen. He then inserts a laparoscope, a long and slender tube with a camera mounted on the end, which provides a video feed from inside the body. The surgeon then uses specially designed tools which are inserted through the small incisions to perform the surgery without having to cut the body open. Laparoscopic surgery offers quicker recovery times, lower risk of infection, less pain and discomfort when healing, and less scarring. Open surgery is an option when the spleen is especially enlarged or other complications are present which make a laparoscopic procedure less viable.