Laparoscopic splenectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to remove a diseased or enlarged spleen. Your spleen is located to the left of your stomach. The spleen acts as a filter to help fight infections and maintain the amount of blood in your body by destroying old blood cells. Certain conditions can cause the spleen to become enlarged or damaged, including, cysts, blood disorders, infection, autoimmune diseases, leukemia, or lymphoma. You can live without a spleen, and your liver will eventually take over some of its functions.
In the past, traditional open surgery methods were the only option for removing the spleen. This method was an invasive procedure and required a large incision. An open splenectomy requires an in-patient stay of up to about a week and up to six weeks for a full recovery. Laparoscopic splenectomy is an alternative to open traditional surgery for some people.
Laparoscopic splenectomy is performed with a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a thin viewing instrument with a miniature camera at the end. The laparoscope is inserted through small incisions. The camera transmits images to a video screen, which a surgeon uses to guide the surgery. Thin surgical instruments are passed through the incisions to perform the procedure. Because only small incisions are necessary for laparoscopic splenectomy, this procedure is associated with less pain, less bleeding, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery time than with traditional open splenectomy methods.