Can you live with a enlarged spleen?
If an enlarged spleen causes serious complications or the cause can't be identified or treated, surgical removal of your spleen (splenectomy) may be an option. You can live an active life without a spleen, but you're more likely to contract serious or even life-threatening infections after spleen removal.
Technically, people can live with no kidneys, but require dialysis. Spleen: The spleen filters blood and helps the body fight infections, but it's not essential for survival. The spleen can be removed if, for instance, it's damaged. However, people without a spleen are more prone to infections.
- First, the operation itself is technically difficult to perform. Secondly, somewhat like the liver, the spleen can regenerate itself, so physicians have worried that even if they perform a successful procedure, the spleen will eventually return to its original size and function.
- Splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your spleen. The spleen is an organ that sits under your rib cage on the upper left side of your abdomen. It helps fight infection and filters unneeded material, such as old or damaged blood cells.
- Spleen transplantation is the transfer of spleen or spleen fragments from one individual to another. It is under research for induction of immunological tolerance for other transplanted organs. Success has been achieved in rodent models. Spleen transplantation surgery has been performed on humans with mixed results.
A splenectomy may also be recommended if you have cancer involving the spleen or certain diseases that affect blood cells. Certain conditions can cause the spleen to swell, making the organ more fragile and susceptible to rupture. Platelets are needed to help blood to clot, so a person with ITP is at risk for bleeding.
- Recovering from surgery takes 4 to 8 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms as you recover: Pain around the incision for a few weeks. This pain should lessen over time.
- In the past, treatment for a spleen injury always meant removal of the entire organ, called a splenectomy. However, doctors now say that some spleen injuries can heal on their own, particularly those that are not very severe.
- Removing your spleen is a major surgery and leaves you with a compromised immune system. For these reasons, it's only performed when truly necessary. The benefits of a splenectomy are that it can resolve several health issues such as blood diseases, cancer, and infection that could not be treated any other way.
If you have an open splenectomy, you may be sent home within one week. Those who have a laparoscopic splenectomy are usually sent home sooner. It will take about four to six weeks to recover from the procedure. Your surgeon may tell you not to take a bath for a while after surgery so the wounds can heal.
- The spleen contains two main types of tissue - white pulp and red pulp. White pulp is material which is part of the immune system (lymphatic tissue) mainly made up of white blood cells. Red pulp is made up of blood-filled cavities (venous sinuses) and splenic cords.
- Living without a spleen. If your spleen needs to be removed, other organs such as the liver can take over many of the spleen's functions. This means you will still be able to cope with most infections. However, there is a small risk that a serious infection may develop quickly.
- Removing the pancreas can also reduce the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food. Without artificial insulin injections and digestive enzymes, a person without a pancreas cannot survive. One 2016 study found that about three-quarters of people without cancer survived at least 7 years following pancreas removal.
Updated: 4th October 2018