ABC Medical Center > Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

What is Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


Also known as splenomegaly, the dilation or inflammation of the spleen can be due to multiple causes such as infections, liver, oncological and autoimmune diseases, among others. Usually, an enlarged spleen does not cause symptoms, so its diagnosis usually occurs by chance in consultations, check-ups, or tests motivated by other diseases. Being a temporary or permanent condition caused by other conditions, it is a symptom in itself. There are several causes of splenomegaly, including:

  • Clots or compression in the hepatic or splenic veins.
  • Lupus.
  • Sarcoidosis.
  • Viral infections.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Parasites.
  • Liver problems.
  • Anemia.
  • Oncological diseases such as leukemia, neoplasia, and lymphoma.
  • Metabolic alterations.

If the splenomegaly and its cause are not treated promptly, there is a risk of suffering a ruptured spleen, producing serious abdominal bleeding whose consequences can be fatal.

Signs and symptoms Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

When a dilated spleen has symptoms they usually are:

  • Tightness and pain in the upper left area of the abdomen.
  • Feeling full after eating a tiny amount of food due to the pressure of the enlarged spleen on the stomach.
  • Anemia.
  • Recurrent infections.
  • Frequent bleeding.

Diagnosis and treatment Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, he or she will proceed to perform a physical examination that will include exhaustive palpation of the abdominal area. If the spleen feels enlarged, they will request a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as blood tests, computed tomography, and MRI.

In addition to the diagnosis of splenomegaly, it will be necessary to identify its direct cause, so tests such as bone marrow biopsy and liver function tests, among others, will be performed.

The treatment plan will focus on attacking the origin of the condition and preventing possible complications. Once the cause is solved, the spleen can sometimes return to its normal size on its own, but if the enlargement is due to a serious illness, it may not, so if your symptoms are severe or there is a risk of rupture, the most advisable thing is to perform a splenectomy or surgical removal of the spleen.

Although it may be a suitable option for severe or chronic cases, splenectomy has several potential risks, such as a predisposition to serious infections that can be fatal.

To avoid post-surgical infections, you will need to be vaccinated against pneumococcus, influenza, and meningococcus, in addition to taking preventive treatments with antibiotics and maintaining medical surveillance to solve any signs of infection.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Rosales AY, López AY, Fernández GA. Esplenectomía laparoscópica en esplenomegalia masiva. A propósito de un caso. Mul Med. 2021;225(1):.
  • Pérez PY, Santana PCA, Muciño PL?, et al. Esplenectomía laparoscópica mano asistida por esplenomegalia masiva. Rev Mex Cir Endoscop. 2020;21(3):166-173. doi:10.35366/99843.

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