Surgery for Blood Disorders and Cancers
Blood is living tissue made up of two parts, a liquid part called plasma and a solid part made up of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Blood disorders can affect one or more of these parts and may be chronic or acute. Blood disorders can result in lymph node enlargement, spleen enlargement, or cancers of the blood including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
The largest organ in the lymphatic system, the spleen is located under the ribcage and above the stomach on the left side. The spleen’s job is to help filter the blood and fight infection. There are many reasons that the spleen may need to be removed, a procedure known as a splenectomy. You may need this surgery if you have: an enlarged or ruptured spleen, some blood disorders, severe infection or certain types of cancer. These include: lymphocytic or hairy cell leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Unless it’s an emergency, prior to splenectomy, you may receive blood transfusions and a pneumonia vaccine. You will receive general anesthesia for this surgery, so your doctor will provide you information about when to cease food and drink prior to surgery.
The surgery can be done in two ways, depending on the size of your spleen:
Robotic/laparoscopic splenectomy: For this type of surgery, your surgeon makes four small incisions in the abdomen and inserts a thin tube with a miniature video camera through one of them, and surgical tools through the others. The surgeon can perform the procedure with visualization on a monitor in the operating room. This procedure offers a quicker healing time and less pain than the open splenectomy. Patients usually go home the same day or the day after. Recovery may take about two weeks.
Open splenectomy: When the spleen has ruptured or is too large, an open procedure is necessary. The surgeon makes an incision in the center of your abdomen, moving away muscle and other tissue to get to the spleen. Once it is removed, the incision is closed. Patients will remain in the hospital two to six days, and recovery takes approximately six weeks.
Lymph node biopsy: A lymph node biopsy is when all or part of a lymph node is removed. Lymph nodes are small glands that make white blood cells, important because they fight infections. Germs that cause infections can be caught in the lymph nodes and become swollen. Cancer can also spread to the lymph nodes. A lymph node biopsy is the only way to find out why a lymph node is swollen.
Conditions that may require spleen or blood disorder surgery include:
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- Polycythemia vera
- Enlarged spleen
- Ruptured spleen
- Enlarged lymph node
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Non-cancerous cyst or tumor
At Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology, we treat the entire spectrum of cancers and cancer related disorder. Our experienced team of caring health professionals offer advanced surgical treatment options. Dealing with cancer can be difficult, but at Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology we are here for you every step of the way.