The spleen is located in the upper-left portion of the abdomen, behind the protective rib cage. This organ helps your body fight off infection and filters out old and damaged blood cells.
Unlike open surgery that requires a large incision, a laparoscopic splenectomy is performed with smaller incisions. This minimally invasive surgery results in less scarring and a dramatically shorter recovery time.
Your doctor may recommend a laparoscopic splenectomy if:
- Your spleen has ruptured or is enlarged
- You have a certain type of blood disorder, cancer, or infection
- A benign (noncancerous) cyst or tumor is present in your spleen
Preparing For a Laparoscopic Splenectomy
Preparation for surgery depends on several factors, including the reason for the splenectomy and your general health. Most patients can expect:
- Blood work
- A full medical evaluation
- Diagnostic tests like X-rays, CT scan, or MRI
- In some cases, a blood transfusion if your blood level is very low
- Instructions to stop taking certain medications, like blood thinners or aspirin
The night before your surgery, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything. Your doctor will tell you what medications you can take the day of your surgery.
During the Laparoscopic Splenectomy Procedure
Laparoscopic splenectomy is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. By using a camera and small incisions, your surgeon will locate and remove your spleen.
After the Procedure
After your surgery, you will wake up in a recovery room. You will receive IV fluids, as well as pain medication. You should be up and walking when you get to your hospital room that afternoon or evening. Most laparoscopic splenectomy patients go home the day after surgery.
Laparoscopic Splenectomy Recovery
For most people, recovery takes two weeks.
- You should arrange to have someone help you around the house.
- Unless otherwise advised, you can resume your normal diet.
- You will be able to shower, but no tub baths or hot tubs for 10-14 days
- You shouldn't drive while taking pain medications.
Your surgeon will give you detailed post-op instructions. You should call the clinic if you experience certain symptoms, including:
- A fever greater than 101F
- Pain that is not controlled by medication
- Your incision sites appear infected
- Out of character chest pain or worsening abdominal pain
Do You Have to Change Your Lifestyle After A Splenectomy?
After a splenectomy, your life is essential as it was prior to surgery. Living without a spleen does not restrict your activities, but it does put you at a small increased risk for infections and getting sick. Your doctor may recommend:
- Certain vaccines (better to get these BEFORE the spleen is removed if possible)
- Preventive antibiotics
- Wearing a medical alert bracelet to indicate that you've had a splenectomy
When to See General Surgeon for Laparoscopic Splenectomy?
Dr. Steven Williams's experience and advanced training, especially with minimally invasive surgeries and robotic surgery, set him apart from other general surgeons. Dr. Steven Williams has performed many splenectomy procedures laparoscopic, robotic assisted, and open. He is known as the surgeon of choice for Hiatal Hernia / GERD, Gallbladder, Hernia, Varicose Veins and Spleen Surgery. Learn from other patients what their experience with Dr. Williams has been by visiting the Reviews page. If you think you need a laparoscopic splenectomy, please submit a contact form or call us at (208) 321-4790 to make an appointment.