The spleen is a relatively fragile organ located in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen, behind the stomach. It helps produce, store and filter blood, and it also plays a role in the body’s immune system.
A severe impact to the left side of the abdomen, such as from a sports or automobile injury, can result in damage to the spleen. Diseases such as leukemia or hemolytic anemia can also require splenectomy. Splenectomy is the surgical removal of the spleen due to injury or illness.
During surgery, the damaged spleen is removed and its attachment to other organs is severed.
Although the liver takes over the functions of the spleen after splenectomy, the blood is not filtered as thoroughly as before. Patients are prone to more bacterial infections following splenectomy.
There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.