The spleen is an organ that lies in the left upper part of the abdominal cavity, it is the size of a hand fist, it functions as part of the immunity system that includes also the lymph nodes distributed elsewhere in the human organs and tissues.
It defends the body against encapsulated bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. Although these infections are rare in patients who lose their spleen, it can be serious and life threatening.
When the spleen is removed you will need specific vaccination against these types of infections
- Trauma, particularly in patients involved in motor vehicle accidents, the spleen is removed because it bleeds seriously
- Blood disorders that affect red cells in which the spleen is the main site that cause damage to the red cells such as hereditary spherocytosis and thalassemia.
- Autoimmune damage to the platelets that leads to spontaneous bleeding tendency
- Lymphoma and certain Leukemias
- Enlarged spleen
- Splenic cyst
- Rare tumours of the spleen
- Cancer of the body and tail of the pancreas