The spleen is a lymphatic organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen that primarily destroys old and damaged blood cells and produces new blood. Its other functions include recycling and storing iron and other nutrients from the blood and triggering B and T cell immune responses to fight antigens and pathogens. Issues can arise that cause spleen dysfunction or enlargement, such as leukemia, splenic thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), splenic tumors, splenomegaly, anemia, etc. and even trauma from physical altercations, motor vehicle or sports injuries that require the organ to be removed.
When Is Spleen Removal Necessary?
The dangers of having a diseased, damaged, or dysfunctional spleen are life-threatening. Instead of solely targeting abnormal and unhealthy blood cells, it will eventually start destroying healthy blood cells, thus reducing the number of healthy platelets and white blood cells necessary for optimal immune function and infection protection. The spleen is an essential component of a healthy immune system. Yet, damage and abnormalities significantly impair its ability to prevent diseases and overcome infections, thus weakening the body’s overall defenses and immunity. Spleen removal is necessary for the body to transfer its functions to the liver so it can continue fighting off infections. Until removal occurs, the body will continue to recognize and depend on the dysfunctional spleen, even though it causes further harm and damage to the remaining organs and patient’s overall health.
Spleen Removal Benefits
Most spleen removal surgeries are performed laparoscopically. Unlike traditional, open splenectomy procedures take several hours to complete, and require longer hospital stays and recoveries, removing the spleen laparoscopically has significant advantages for both the patient and surgeon. Orange County Robotic General Surgery laparoscopic spleen removal patients enjoy the following benefits.
Safer Alternative to Open Surgery
Traditionally, spleen removal surgery was performed as open surgery with incisions made through multiple layers of abdominal tissues and muscles and required significant organ and tissue manipulation to remove the spleen. After which, open splenectomy patients would experience severe and prolonged bruising, skin discoloration, soreness, pain, and mobility and activity restrictions during their recoveries. The techniques used to perform open spleen removal surgery increase the risk of infection and complications.
Laparoscopic spleen removal surgery is more favorable and effective for patients. It is minimally invasive, so patients experience far less pain and discomfort, have shorter recoveries and fewer activity restrictions. Laparoscopic splenectomy patients also have less surgical trauma because the incisions are tiny and made in areas on the abdomen with special surgical instruments, such as a laparoscope, cannulas, and the da Vinci Surgical System to minimize tissue and organ manipulation. The effects are fewer scars and cosmetic blemishes, complications, risks, and less soreness, bruising and skin discoloration. These factors reduce overall patient discomfort and recovery times, increasing patient adherence to postoperative care plans. Laparoscopic spleen removal is ideal for most patients.
However, individuals with excessive scar tissue from prior trauma or surgeries, taking blood thinners or certain medications, and other health issues may impact overall candidacy for laparoscopic spleen removal. A consultation is necessary for Dr. Khosravi to determine the most efficacious spleen removal procedure for each patient. In some cases, open splenectomy may be more suitable.
Traditionally, open spleen removal surgery required a recovery period of 5 to 7 weeks, although many patients experienced complications that lead to delays. On the other hand, recovering from laparoscopic spleen removal surgery is shorter. Though there are factors that can cause delays in laparoscopic spleen removal, such as if it was explorative or not, patient’s health profile, etc., on average, laparoscopic splenectomies require less healing and recovery time. Fewer and shorter incisions heal faster and typically don’t require sutures. Also, laparoscopic surgery is performed on a smaller portion of the abdomen so there is less discomfort, fewer complication risks, and better outcomes.
Laparoscopic Spleen Removal Options
Orange County Robotic Surgery offers laparoscopic and robotic spleen removal surgery. Both options make spleen removal safer for patients without the risks of traditional surgical procedures. Robotic-assisted spleen removal surgery is very similar to laparoscopic splenectomy procedure. The main difference is Dr. Khosravi uses the da Vinci Robotic System to directly perform the procedure instead of his hands.
This revolutionary robotic system makes it possible for Dr. Khosravi to surgically remove the spleen using a tiny, enhanced real-time video camera and microscopic instruments to create smaller incisions than those used in the laparoscopic method for better surgical precision. The use of the da Vinci system also makes the procedure faster to perform, reduces overall complication risks and is easier for patients to recover from than traditional open and laparoscopic surgical options.\
To find out if inguinal hernia repair surgery is right for you, Contact Orange County General Robotic Surgery at (714) 706-1257 for a consultation with Dr. Abtin H. Khosravi.