General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Diseases of the Spleen

Diseases of the spleen almost always involve excessive removal of blood cells from the circulation.


Early or excessive removal of red blood cells leads to anemia.  People who are anemia fatigue easily since there blood does not have enough oxygen carrying cells.  Examples of anemias related to the spleen are: 

  • Hereditary spherocytosis
  • Hereditary elliptocytosis
  • Thalassemia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Hemolytic anemias

More about anemia


Early or excessive removal of platelets leads to thrombocytopenia.  People with thrombocytopenia bruise easily and experience prolonged bleeding when they are cut.  Thrombocytopenia most commonly results from idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, commonly known as ITP. Thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura  (TTP) is a rare disease of uncertain origin characterized by hemolytic anemia, low platelet counts renal failure and central nervous system problems.  It arises from platelets becoming plugged in blood vessels leading to wide spread damage.  Splenectomy is often curative.

Tumors or Cysts

Tumors of the spleen are very unusual and rarely malignant.  Cysts of the spleen do occur and can often produce symptoms if they become large enough. Splenic cysts may result for injury to the spleen or may be congenital.