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Laparoscopic Splenectomy

This operation removes the spleen. The spleen may need to be removed if it is destroying platelets or blood cells. Additionally it sometimes may be removed to treat a tumor. When the spleen is removed laparoscopically, the recovery is shortened to 1-3 weeks for most patients.


The spleen is located in the upper left area of the abdomen. Under normal circumstances, it has several important functions: development of blood cells, fighting infection, & removal of old blood cells & other particles from the blood stream. Sometimes, the spleen malfunctions or is damaged and must be removed. When this occurs, most of the necessary splenic functions are taken up be other body systems, although the body cannot completely assume the "infection fighting" function of the spleen. The most common indications for removal of the spleen are Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), or Hereditary Spherocytosis.


In most cases the spleen can be removed laparoscopically. This involves a small scope through the belly button and three additional port insertion sites that are 1-inch in size. A dissolvable suture is used so that there will not be any stitches to remove. You do not need to put medicine or bandages over the incision.


You may shower or take a shallow tub bath three days after surgery. Pat the incision dry. You should wait one week before you soak the incision in the bathtub or swim.


When you return home, you may participate in normal activities such as walking & climbing stairs. You should not participate in contact sports, lift over ten pounds, or participate in activities that could cause a blow to the abdomen for four weeks after the surgery. You may return to school, but should not participate in physical education classes for 4 weeks.


Take Tylenol in an age appropriate dosage.

Return to clinic

You will be given an appointment to the clinic about two weeks following discharge from the hospital.

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