In the human body, problems can arise when organs become larger than they should be. Enlarging organs can press on surrounding tissue and organs leading to significant problems. Splenomegaly is a relatively common condition with a variety of causes.
Definition of Splenomegaly
Splenomegaly is defined as an enlarged spleen.
Anatomy of Splenomegaly
The spleen sits under the rib cage on the body’s left side. People can live without their spleen; however, it serves several important functions. The spleen plays a role in recycling dead cells, such as red and white blood cells, as well as disposing of dead bacteria and viruses. An enlarged spleen is often palpable by a physician.
Causes of Splenomegaly
There are several conditions that can lead to an enlarged spleen. All of them have to do with excess numbers of either red or white blood cells being deposited in the spleen. Two common causes are mononucleosis and hereditary spherocytosis. Epstein-Barr virus is the cause of mononucleosis. Patients can have abnormal white blood cells that get deposited in the spleen with the virus, causing it to swell. Hereditary spherocytosis is a genetic abnormality of red blood cells that causes the cells to be misshapen. Cells die more frequently and the spleen enlarges as a result.
Symptoms of Splenomegaly
Splenomegaly itself is a symptom of a number of conditions; however, it does have a variety of symptoms it commonly occurs with including:
- Abdominal cramping
- A feeling of fullness
- Pain in the left upper quadrant
Diagnosis of Splenomegaly
Splenomegaly is commonly diagnosed by physical exam. This can be confirmed using an ultrasound or other imaging.
Prevention of Splenomegaly
There is no way to prevent splenomegaly as the conditions that cause splenomegaly are common or hereditary. However, people with splenomegaly should avoid contact sports due to the risk of splenic rupture.
Am I At Risk of Splenomegaly?
Patients with some cancers, mononucleosis, and some hereditary disease are all at risk of splenomegaly.
Treatment of Splenomegaly
Treatment of splenomegaly typically revolves around treating the underlying condition. Sometimes, a patient will benefit from splenectomy or coiling of the spleen. If the patient just needs a reduction in the size of the spleen, rather than total removal, a small catheter and wire can be placed into the splenic artery from the groin. Coils can be placed in the splenic artery to severely limit blood flow and decrease the size of the spleen. If the patient requires complete excision of the spleen this can often be performed using a laparoscopic technique using several small incisions. For extremely large spleens requiring excision, an open procedure is required.
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Splenomegaly is a serious and sensitive situation that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Splenomegaly can cause great pain and have serious consequences which deserves the attention of a superb vascular surgeon. Exemplary surgeons like Dr. Jenna Kazil spend years training and treating splenomegaly. Patients in need of either splenectomy or splenic embolization on Florida’s West Coast should locate a talented vascular surgeon who has the surgical skills necessary to perform these serious surgical operations for the benefit of their patients. Dr. J. Kazil is an outstanding vascular surgeon who has developed an impressive track record of successful splenectomy or splenic embolization cases. Dr. Kazil understands the important circumstances that drive the treatment with the accuracy and compassion that everyone expects from a gifted vascular surgeon. Jenna Kazil, MD, FACS, RPVI is consummate surgical specialist working as a vascular and general surgeon seeing patients from South Sarasota to East Desoto and Hardee to North Hillsborough to West Manatee and Pinellas counties. Patients requiring splenectomy or splenic embolization should contact Dr. Kazil at the Florida Surgical Clinic located in Bradenton, FL today to schedule an appointment with a unique experienced doctor that possesses an exceptional blend of compassionate care and expert skills.