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Splenectomy

The spleen is a large organ in the abdomen that has a variety of functions. It contains a large amount of blood, which makes it prone to blood vessel cancers. It can also become twisted, abscessed, or ruptured.

Each of these conditions will present in a different way. Some of these patients will be critical, due to blood loss into the abdomen, while others will appear quite normal (eg a benign mass on the spleen).
There is no easy way to differentiate a benign splenic mass from a malignant one, and even under the pathologist’s microscope it can still be very difficult.

All masses on the spleen need investigating and removing.

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Treatment

Prior to treatment for a splenic mass, investigation with blood tests and ultrasound is essential.
A ruptured or twisted spleen will also need a degree of patient stabilisation using fluid support, painkillers, and oxygen therapy.

Some of these cases are true emergencies and the stabilisation period may have to be quite short.
Surgery involves opening the abdomen and removing the spleen. There are a large number of blood vessels to check and tie off carefully, so we often use titanium clips to speed this part of the procedure up.

The rest of the abdomen is checked for any other abnormalities, then closed routinely.
 

Suitable candidates

Any patient with a splenic mass.
 

Time involved in clinic

Splenectomy patients are commonly kept in the clinic for several days after surgery, allowing us to monitor blood clotting, fluid levels, discomfort, and potential for infection.
 

After care

This is a major surgery and the patients need a period of rest and recuperation. Special foods, painkillers, and strict rest for at least 3 weeks are required.
 

How to book

Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, xrays images, and medications with you when you come.

IF YOUR PET HAS A RUPTURED OR TWISTED SPLEEN, DO NOT DELAY IN CONTACTING US IMMEDIATELY