Injuries to the Spleen
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Intra-abdominal organs, most commonly the spleen and liver, are injured in 40–50% of polytraumatized patients. Because of its important immunological functions, preservation of the injured spleen is of paramount importance.
There are both conservative and surgical approaches to preservation of the spleen in trauma cases. Of the techniques available for this purpose, tissue adhesives, coagulation, partial resection, and mesh splenorrhapy are the most suitable.
Nonoperative management is a worthwhile option in hemodynamically stable patients. The decisive factor for successful conservative management is the degree of injury. We find that the manner in which heparin is administered plays an important role. Tissue adhesives are commonly used with good success with superficial lacerations. Coagulation techniques are also suitable for organ conservation with grade I and II injuries. Splenorraphy with resorbablemesh is the method of choice with the deep lacerations as it permits rapid and permanenthemostasis. If an injury only involves one pole or one half of the spleen, resection of that part of the organ is an option. Partial resection with a stapler is advisable for speed and effectiveness. Total fragmentation or separation of the hilus is treated with an immediate splenectomy, saving the tail of the pancreas.
In trauma cases, every attempt should be made to save the spleen. If splenectomy cannot be avoided, the splenectomized patient should be immunized against pneumococcus and be informed of his/ her resultant immune deficiency.