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Laparoscopic Splenectomy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Laparoscopic splenectomy is surgery to take out all or part of your spleen.

Abdominal Organs

HOW TO PREPARE:

The week before your surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after you are discharged.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need blood and urine tests before your surgery. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI.
  • You will need to be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia before your surgery. You may also need other vaccines, such as vaccines against the flu and bacterial meningitis (brain infection). Ask which vaccines you need.
  • General anesthesia will be given to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family had a problem with anesthesia.

The night before your surgery:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Take only the medicines your surgeon told you to take.
  • An IV will be placed in a vein. You may be given medicine or liquid through the IV.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

What will happen:

  • Your surgeon will make 3 to 5 small incisions for the laparoscope and tools to pass through. A laparoscope is a long tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end.
    Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Your abdomen will be filled with a gas called carbon dioxide to help your surgeon see your spleen. Your surgeon will remove the whole spleen or only the damaged parts. He or she will check for bleeding and look for other problems in the abdomen.
  • A drain may be placed to remove fluid or blood from your abdomen. The incision will be closed with sutures and covered with a bandage.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. The bandages covering your incision will keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages to check your incision. The carbon dioxide may cause shoulder or chest pain for 1 to 2 days after your surgery.

CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen, or feel faint or weak.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath or chest pain.

Risks

You may have problems during laparoscopic surgery that lead to an open surgery. You may have trouble breathing, or develop pneumonia. Nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and other organs near the spleen may be damaged. You may bleed more than expected. You may develop a life-threatening infection or blood clot. Even after surgery, your symptoms may not get better right away. If your spleen is completely removed, you will always have a higher risk for infections.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.