Splenectomy is the surgical removal of the spleen. The spleen is an organ in the upper left part of the abdomen. It is beneath the ribs and behind the stomach. The spleen filters blood to remove bacteria, parasites, and other organisms that can cause infection. It removes old and damaged blood cells. It can also produce red blood cells and certain types of white blood cells.
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You may need to be treated by having a splenectomy if you have:
- Trauma to the spleen
- Splenic rupture due to tumor, infection, inflammatory condition, or medications
- Enlargement of the spleen—splenomegaly
blood disorders when other treatments are not working, including:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura
- Hereditary spherocytosis
- Hemolytic anemia
- Hereditary elliptocytosis
- Some types of leukemia or lymphoma
- Tumor or abscess in the spleen
- Liver disease (cirrhosis)
- Abnormal formation of fibrous tissue in the bone marrow
- Damage in the blood vessels of the spleen
- Diseased spleen, due to disorders like HIV infection
Last reviewedAugust 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.