The spleen filters the blood and is an important part of the immune system. It also removes old and malformed red blood cells from circulation. It serves a greater purpose in children that are still developing immunities, but it can generally be safely removed in adults with little or no ill effect.
The most common reason for spleen removal is trauma. However, there are some indications for elective removal of the spleen, or splenectomy. These include complications of leukemia or lymphoma like low cell counts or enlargement of the spleen causing pain, hereditary spherocytosis, and failure of medical management of several diseases including: idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), Felty's Syndrome, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), hereditary elliptocytosis, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, and sickle cell anemia.
We generally try to remove the spleen in these situations laparoscopically if feasible. However, size is sometimes a limiting factor. Every patient is different and we would be happy to discuss your diagnosis with you and make recommendations based on your individual situation.