Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma

Topic Completed: 1 October 2012

Minor changes: 29 July 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Splenectomy[TI] spleen[TI] free full text[sb]

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Cite this page: Mansouri J. Splenectomy. website. Accessed November 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Usually performed for traumatic rupture
  • Usually no clinical consequence in adults but elevated risk of infection is present, especially in elderly and those with malignancy (Med J Aust 2012;196:582)
  • In children, associated with increased incidence and severity of infections, particularly encapsulated bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae; overwhelming infections (OPSI: overwhelming postsplenectomy infection) may begin days to years after splenectomy, without an identifiable focus and have 50 - 80% mortality despite antibiotics
  • Increased susceptibility to severe infections with intraerythrocytic parasites Babesia and Plasmodium (Clin Microbiol Rev 2010;23:740)
  • In children, splenectomy is avoided in favor of splenic repair, partial splenectomy or splenic autotransplant
  • Must consider possibility of accessory spleen(s) if splenectomy is performed for hematologic disorders
  • Howell-Jolly bodies are evidence of no splenic function
Case reports
Peripheral smear images

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Howell-Jolly bodies

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