Surgical methods for removing the spleen include open and laparoscopic surgeries. Open surgery is best for patients who have large spleens. The surgeon makes a large incision and administers general anaesthetic. Patients stay in the hospital for several days after the procedure and will be given pain relief. They should be able to return to normal activities within two weeks. There is a small risk of infection.
The spleen performs various functions, including filtering blood and fighting infection. In some cases, people can live without a spleen. However, these people may be more prone to infections. Those who have undergone spleen removal surgery may have to take extra shots and take oral antibiotics daily. But while it can be challenging, many people are able to lead healthy lives with asplenia.
The loss of a spleen increases the risk of developing parasitic infections. In some parts of the world, mosquito bites carry the malaria virus. In the Northeast and upper midwestern USA, there are different species of Babesia. In Europe, the risk of developing COVID-19 is higher. A spleen may be necessary to protect the body from these infections. If you live with COVID-19 infection, make sure to get regular vaccinations and follow the CDC’s recommendations.
Besides its role in immunity and blood filtration, the spleen also has several other functions. In fact, it contains nearly 40% of the body’s monocytes, which are responsible for fighting dangerous infections. Without the spleen, the immune system will not function as well and could even shut down. However, if you have an impaired spleen, you can learn how to prevent infection from occurring.