Gastrointestinal Surgeries Splenectomy

Splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your spleen —a small hand-sized organ located in front of the left kidney and behind the stomach. The spleen helps fight infection and filters unneeded material, such as old or damaged blood cells. Although your bone marrow produces most of your blood products, the spleen also produces red blood cells and certain types of white blood cells.

Laparoscopic splenectomy, or removal of the spleen through several small incisions, has been performed more frequently in recent years. Laparoscopic surgery, which is sometimes called keyhole surgery, is done with smaller surgical instruments inserted through very short incisions, with the assistance of a tiny camera and video monitor. Two or three more small incisions will be made in the abdomen. Blood vessels to the spleen will be cut and tied off. The spleen will then be rotated and removed. If the spleen has been ruptured, the abdomen is checked for any other injured organs or blood vessels. If needed, further surgery may be done at this time. The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with surgical tape.

Laparoscopic procedures reduce the length of hospital stay, the level of postoperative pain, and the risk of infection. They also leave smaller scars.

Risks involved in splenectomy treatment procedure are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to other organs
  • Hernia formation at incision site

The surgery is done as an overnight stay in most patients. The remaining patients typically go home the following day. Patients can resume light daily activity immediately. Most patients after laparoscopic surgery will experience a sharp shoulder pain that resolves after 2-4 hours. It is important that patients get out of bed and go for a walk as soon as possible (the night of surgery), to improve lung function and decrease the risk of abnormal blood clots. The average patient will require 1-2 weeks recovery before resuming more vigorous activity. There is no forced limitation of activity, instead patients are asked to advance their activity as tolerated. This applies to the resumption of work, sports, and sexual activity. Patients are given a clear liquid diet the night after surgery.

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