The spleen is located in the left upper part of the abdomen. The function of the spleen is to act as a filter, cleansing the blood of older or damaged red and white blood cells along with platelets. The spleen also has a significant role in immunization. If the spleen begins to malfunction, it may start removing cells too early or not remove any cells at all. There are several medical treatments that can be tried to treat splenic-blood conditions, and many are quite effective. However, some conditions may result in a recommendation for surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy).
The spleen can usually be removed in an adult without creating any serious problems. You may have to undergo several different types of tests before this surgery including a CT scan and other lab tests. You will be asleep for the two hours that it takes to perform this surgery. Most patients will have an incision over the left upper part of their abdomen, typically right below the ribs. A small percentage of patients may require a blood transfusion or platelet transfusion during or after this surgery.
The average hospital stay for this surgery is three to five days. You will be given pain pills to take home with you. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity will be limited for the first several weeks after surgery, but most patients are able to resume normal activities within four to six weeks.