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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Wandering spleen

Other Names for this Disease
  • Displaced spleen
  • Drifting spleen
  • Floating spleen
  • Splenic ptosis
  • Splenoptosis
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Your Question

I am 26 years old and I have wandering spleen. I would like to know what is the best treatment option for my problem. Can I have a healthy pregnancy with my condition? What are the consequences of spleen removal surgery?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might wandering spleen be treated?

Because wandering spleen can cause life-threatening complications (such as splenic infarction, portal hypertension, and hemorrhage), surgery to remove the spleen is the preferred treatment method for patients. Laparoscopic splenectomy is the typical method used for spleen removal. Splenopexy (surgically fixing the floating spleen) is associated with a high risk of recurrence and complications and is not the preferred treatment choice.[1]

Last updated: 4/25/2012

What risks are associated with spleen removal surgery?

Though you don't need a spleen to survive, being without your spleen increases your risk of serious infections. Your doctor may recommend ways to reduce your risk of infection.[2]

Risks for any surgery are:[3]

The risks or problems that may occur during or soon after this surgery are:

  • Blood clot in the portal vein (an important vein that carries blood to the liver)
  • Collapsed lung
  • Hernia at the surgical cut site
  • Increased risk for infection after splenectomy (post-splenectomy sepsis or other infections -- children are at higher risk than adults for infection)
  • Injury to nearby organs, such as the pancreas, stomach, and colon
  • Pus collection under the diaphragm (subdiaphragmatic abscess)
Last updated: 4/25/2012

What are the risks for my pregnancy if I have a wandering spleen?

In pregnant patients, especially giving a vaginal birth, an additional possible complication of wandering spleen is the risk of spleen rupture.[1]
Last updated: 4/25/2012