How are spleens removed?

In most cases, splenectomies can be performed as laparoscopic surgeries if the spleen is not too enlarged. Using this technique, a tube is inserted into the abdomen and the space inflated with carbon dioxide. The surgeon places other tubes into the abdomen through other small holes, allowing the placement of instruments. The spleen is cut free of all of connections, put inside a special bag, and pulled through one of the largest holes in the abdomen.

If the spleen is too large for laparoscopic removal, the spleen will be taken out in an "open" procedure with a single larger incision. In addition to spleen size, your doctor might opt for an open procedure if there is a lot of scar tissue from previous procedures, if there is an inability to see clearly enough to perform laparoscopy, or if there are bleeding problems. This decision may be made prior to or during surgery.

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