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There are several reasons why a spleen might need to be removed, and the following list, though not all-inclusive, includes the most common reasons:
  • The most common reason is a condition called idiopathic (unknown cause) thrombocytopenia (low platelets) purpura (ITP). Platelets are blood cells which aid is blood clotting.
  • Hemolytic anemia (a condition that breaks down red blood cells) requires a spleen removal to prevent or decrease the need for transfusion.
  • Cancers of the cells that fight infection, known as lymphoma or certain types of leukemia, require spleen removal. When the spleen gets enlarged, it sometimes removes too many platelets from your blood and has to be removed.
  • Other reasons include hereditary (genetic) conditions that affect the shape of red blood cells, conditions known as spherocystosis, sickle cell disease or thallassemia.

The surgeons at CHRIAS typically perform this procedure using minimally invasive techniques. Most patients can have a laparoscopic splenectomy. Though the experience of the surgeon is the biggest factor in a successful outcome, the size of the spleen is the most important determinant in deciding whether the spleen can be removed laparoscopically. When the size of the spleen is extremely large, it is difficult to perform the laparoscopic technique.

You should obtain a thorough evaluation by a surgeon qualified in laparoscopic spleen removal along with consultation with your other physicians to find out if this technique is appropriate for you.