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Laparoscopic Splenectomy is considered a gold standard approach that involves the removal of the spleen from elective patients. It is a minimally invasive procedure and has a fairly quicker and less painful recovery time than open surgery.

The Need for Laparoscopic Splenectomy

A Laparoscopic Splenectomy procedure may be recommended in cases where a patient has been diagnosed with:

Cancer: There are various types of cancers that can be treated with splenectomies such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and hairy cell leukemia.

Enlarged spleen: symptoms of an enlarged spleen including pain and a feeling of fullness may be relieved by splenectomy.

Cyst or tumor: If the presence of noncancerous cysts in the spleen become large or difficult to remove, splenectomy intervention becomes necessary.

Infection: Spleen removal may be necessary for a patient with a severe infection.

Blood disorders: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, polycythemia Vera, and thalassemia are some blood disorders that may be treated with splenectomy.

Preparation for the Procedure

The patient prior to the procedure may be advised to temporarily stop taking some medications and supplements.

The patient may also be advised to avoid eating or drinking for a specific amount of time. The doctor will give specific instructions to the patient to prepare adequately.

The Procedure

During the procedure, which is performed under general anesthesia, the surgeon initiates the surgery through a minimally invasive option as compared to open surgery. The technique to be being used in the procedure is frequently determined by the size of the spleen. The surgeon is more likely to do an open splenectomy if the patient’s spleen is larger.

• Laparoscopic splenectomy: The surgeon makes a few incisions in the patient’s abdomen. He/she uses a small camera to project a video of the patient’s spleen onto a monitor. The surgeon can then remove the spleen with small tools. The surgeon will then stitch the small incisions. He/she may recommend an open surgery after viewing the patient’s spleen on the camera.

• Open splenectomy: During this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the middle of the patient’s abdomen and moves aside muscle and other tissue to gain clarity of the spleen. The spleen will then be removed, and the incision closed.

After the Procedure

The patient will be transferred to the recovery room. However, if he/she had laparoscopic surgery, they will probably go home the same day or a day after. For open surgery, the patient may go home after two to six days.

Risks of Laparoscopic Splenectomy

However, in as much as Laparoscopic Splenectomy is regarded as a fairly safe procedure by medical specialists, just like any other surgery, it carries with it potential risks and complications. These include:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Harm to nearby organs such as the patient’s intestines, and stomach
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