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Splenectomy is the removal of the spleen.

This can occur in three different ways:

  • planned, where prophylactic measures can be used to prevent later complications
  • traumatic, where the spleen is damaged in an accident or during surgery and so needs removal; no prophylaxis has taken place before the removal
  • autosplenectomy, which refers to the physiological - but not anatomical - loss of the spleen, occurring in some conditions, for example sickle cell anaemia where chronic damage to the spleen results in atrophy

Last reviewed 01/2018