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Splenectomy

Surgery Overview

A splenectomy (say "splih-NEK-tuh-mee") is surgery to take out the spleen. You may have your spleen taken out because a disease made it get too big. Or maybe your spleen no longer works as it should. The doctor also may remove the spleen if it was damaged in an accident or injury.

Your surgery may be done through one large cut (incision). This is called open surgery. Or you may have laparoscopic surgery. To do this, the doctor puts a lighted tube, or scope, and other tools through several small cuts.

The spleen helps protect you from illness. After your spleen is gone, you may be more likely to get certain infections. So before or soon after your surgery, you will need a pneumococcal shot. You may also need other vaccinations.

Open surgery will leave a scar about 6 to 10 inches long on your belly. Laparoscopic surgery leaves small scars. They will fade over time.

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