Spleen injury Diagnosis/Treatment
The spleen , in the upper left abdomen, can be damaged by significant stomach impacts, causing tears in its tissue. Symptoms usually include pain. For splee injury diagnosis, doctors use ultrasonography or CT scans. Treatment often involves blood transfusions and sometimes surgery to remove or repair the spleen.
- Spleen injuries can vary from minor to severe, potentially causing life-threatening bleeding. Hematomas may develop under its covering or inside the spleen.
- Common causes include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, and assaults.
- Enlarged spleens, possibly due to conditions like infectious mononucleosis, are more injury-prone.
- An injured spleen can bleed into the abdominal cavity, with bleeding severity tied to the injury’s extent.
- A splenic hematoma might not initially cause bleeding but can rupture and bleed soon after the injury or even weeks later.
Symptoms of Spleen Injury
Spleen injury symptoms include pain and tenderness in the abdomen, often under the left rib cage, radiating to the left shoulder. Abdominal rigidity from muscle contractions can spread the pain. Significant blood loss may cause low blood pressure, leading to lightheadedness, blurred vision, confusion, and fainting. Doctors watch for spleen injuries in patients with left-sided rib fractures due to its proximity to the ribs.
Spleen Injury Diagnosis
When suspecting a spleen injury the diagnosis/treatment usually doctors conduct ultrasonography or CT scans to assess the damage and plan treatment. In severe cases with life-threatening hemorrhage, immediate surgery might be necessary for diagnosis and bleeding control. For severe blood loss, blood transfusions replace lost blood, and if unavailable, intravenous fluids temporarily maintain blood volume and pressure, stabilizing the patient and preventing complications from significant blood loss.
In the past, the standard medical practice was to remove a damaged spleen, a procedure known as splenectomy. However, this approach has changed due to the recognition that spleen removal can lead to increased vulnerability to serious infections later on. Nowadays, it is understood that many small to moderate-sized spleen injuries can heal on their own without the need for surgical intervention. Nonetheless, blood transfusions and hospital treatment may still be necessary for effective management.
Surgery, when deemed necessary, often involves a complete removal of the spleen. In cases with less severe damage, surgeons may opt to repair a small tear instead of performing a total splenectomy. Following the removal of the spleen, specific precautions, referred to as asplenia care, are essential to prevent infections due to the spleen’s role in the immune system. These precautions might include vaccinations and prophylactic antibiotics to safeguard against potential infections.