Minimally invasive or laparoscopic splenectomy involves using multiple thin tubes placed through 3 to 5 small incisions. These incisions are usually less than ¼ inch. Carbon dioxide gas is then used to slowly inflate the abdomen. A thin telescope is placed through one of the tubes. This allows the surgical team to view the inside of the abdomen on a TV monitor. Specialized instruments are placed through the other tubes to perform the operation. Your surgeon watches the video images on a monitor and removes the spleen with special surgical tools that are put in the other three incisions. Then he or she closes the incisions. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
Laparoscopic splenectomy isn’t appropriate for everyone. A ruptured spleen usually requires open splenectomy. In some cases your surgeon may begin with a laparoscopic approach and find it necessary to make a larger incision because of scar tissue from previous operations or other complications.