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Spleen enlargement; Enlarged spleen
Splenomegaly is an enlargement of the spleen beyond its normal size. Hepatosplenomegaly is enlargement of both the liver and the spleen.
The spleen is an organ involved in the production and maintenance of red blood cells, the production of certain circulating white blood cells, and is a part of the lymph system and the immune system. It also has a phagocytic role and acts as a filter for circulating microorganisms, old and deformed red cells, and other antigens.
Because of its wide variety of functions, the spleen may be affected by many conditions involving the blood or lymph system, and by infection, malignancies, liver disease and parasites.
The Spleen is sometimes removed (SPLENECTOMY) for the following conditions:
When the spleen is enlarged due to a build-up of vein blood pressure (portal hypertension), it is rare to recommend splenectomy.
Given that the spleen is involved with the ‘recycling’ of blood cells, it is not surprising that splenectomy leads to an increase in some of the circulating blood cells, particularly platelet counts. We are able to live normally without a spleen because its functions are largely compensated for by liver and bone marrow activity. One particular issue though is a lifetime increased risk of certain infections, Dr Crawford will arrange for immunisations for these and recommend a daily low dose antibiotic.