The spleen has various functions, mainly its job is to act like a blood filter, it removes old red blood cells and platelets, and it also is able to detect and fight against certain bacterial infections.

There are various reasons people need their spleen removed. Sometimes in certain autoimmune disorders such as Idiopathic Thrombocytopaenic Purpura (ITP), your spleen’s filtering role becomes overactive and removes too many blood cells and platelets from your body. This is the most common reason for people requiring a splenectomy.

A splenectomy is performed under general anaesthetic as a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure. The attachments of the spleen to other organs are released, and the blood vessels going in and out of the spleen are divided, and the spleen is removed through one of the keyholes.

You would usually need to remain in hospital for 2-3 nights and can return to your normal daily activity within a week.

Since your spleen has a role in the immune defence system of the body, there are certain vaccinations which you will require. We arrange for these to be given at the appropriate time prior to your operation. It is also important to realise that after your splenectomy, that you may be slightly increased risk of developing certain infections such as respiratory infections. We recommend that you see your GP immediately, or start a full course of antibiotics at the first sign of any sore throat or cough, or at the onset of any fever.

We deal closely with your GP, haematologist, and any other specialists dealing with the reasons for you requiring a splenectomy.

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