Getting a splenectomy is not the end of the world, nor a death sentence. Many spleen removal patients enjoy happy and productive lives. Spleen removal is a highly successful therapeutic and curative therapy for many people with underlying and autoimmune health disorders. It is also the primary treatment for emergency spleen rupture and infection patients. Though the spleen is a vital component of the lymphatic system, it is not necessary for survival. Continue reading for deeper insight into the splenectomy procedure.
What Is the Spleen’s Function?
The spleen sits in the upper left portion of the abdomen. This small organ plays an important role in regulating body fluid levels and beefing up the body’s immunity against infections and diseases. The spleen stores red blood cells and create lymphocytes and macrophages (soldier-like white blood cells) that specifically target and destroy foreign substances, bacteria, and pathogens in the blood. The spleen also filters cellular waste and old and damaged erythrocytes (red blood cells) from the bloodstream to help sustain proper red and white blood cell and platelet counts. The liver takes over most of the spleen’s functions after removal. People without spleens become immunocompromised, meaning they are vulnerable to serious infections. Yet, when compared to the life-threatening complications and risk of dying from a damaged or ruptured spleen, the benefits of spleen removal far outweigh the risks.
Spleen Removal Surgery
The splenectomy procedure is a common and effective solution for spleen enlargement and dysfunction that stems from immune, blood and platelet clotting disorders, and genetic conditions. Dr. Abtin Khosravi, MD routinely performs open and laparoscopic splenectomies at the Orange County Robotic General Surgery Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery clinic on an elective and nonelective basis.
Laparoscopic Spleen Removal
Laparoscopic spleen removal is the least invasive way to remove the spleen from the body. Unlike traditional or open surgery, there are no large incisions. Dr. Khosravi uses the da Vinci Robotic System to perform laparoscopic splenectomies via three to four small incisions in the abdomen.
Dr. Khosravi uses a safe gas (CO2) to make the abdominal cavity large enough to perform the procedure. He then uses a laparoscope so he can see the surgical area in high-definition 3D. This allows him to highlight any abnormalities or additional spleen tissue besides the splenomegaly for extraction. He then uses the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to precisely navigate, target, reduce, and extract the damaged organ and associated tissues from the body before closing all incisions.
Robotic splenectomy patients spend up to two days in observation and recovery before discharge home. Dr. Khosravi’s surgical expertise and the da Vinci Robotic System significantly reduce the pain, discomfort, and trauma of surgery enabling patients to complete recovery within one to weeks.
Open Splenectomy Surgery
Dr. Khosravi performs open spleen removal surgery using traditional techniques and tools. The incisions are larger and cover more of the abdomen. The incisions are strategically placed underneath the ribs on the left or middle area of the abdomen. He then removes the enlarged spleen and places sutures or staples to seal the openings and complete the surgery. Due to the size of the incisions and type of surgery performed, patients often experience more postoperative pain than laparoscopic patients and longer recoveries. The average time for complete recovery is four to eight weeks.
Da Vinci Robotic Splenectomy vs. Open Spleen Removal Surgery
The da Vinci Robot is a state-of-the-art system that enhances Dr. Khosravi’s surgical expertise and dexterity to perform splenectomies with greater precision. Patients benefit from better outcomes, less surgical trauma, and faster and painless recoveries that improve their overall health and quality of life. Despite its benefits, da Vinci Robotic Surgery is not suitable for everyone. Spleen removal patients with certain risk factors, such as excessive spleen enlargement, obesity, dense abdominal scar tissue, and health conditions may be better suited for traditional spleen removal surgery.
Some traditional/open surgery individuals with severe organ enlargement may benefit from a special procedure that can reduce the size of the spleen to improve laparoscopic splenectomy or da Vinci Robotic splenectomy candidacy and results. Dr. Khosravi blocks the splenic artery before using a special X-ray to deliver safe radiation waves that drain and shrink the spleen so it can be removed laparoscopically. Dr. Khosravi takes patient safety seriously. Some circumstances may develop before or during robotic surgery where he may perform open surgery instead to minimize the risk of complications.
Spleen removal is a common and effective solution for spleen enlargement and dysfunction that stems from immune, blood and platelet clotting disorders, injuries, and genetic conditions. Potential patients should consider the following risks:
- Hepatic (liver) portal vein clots
- Hernia or abscesses
- Injury to nearby organ systems
- Extreme bruising
- Skin discoloration
Splenectomies require the use of general anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort. It is safe, effective, and generally well tolerated by most patients. Complications from anesthesia are rare. Both types of spleen removal surgery carry many of the same risks. Also, pediatric splenectomy patients are more susceptible to infection.
Contact Orange County Robotic General Surgery Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery
If you have questions about the splenectomy procedure or would like a consultation to determine your candidacy for Robotic spleen removal surgery or open surgical options, call (714) 706-1171 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abtin Khosravi, MD.
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.