The spleen is located in the left upper abdomen and is important for priming of the lymphocytes during childhood development. Besides this immunolgical function it contributes in adult age to the disposal and recycling of red blood cells as well as thrombocytes. In diseases of the bone marrow the spleen can also be involved in the production of red and white blood cells. Loss of the spleen (for example due to an accident) mostly has little consequences in adults. However, a vaccination against encapsulated bacteria (Pneumococci, Meningococci, Hemophylus influenza) should be carried out after an operation because the defense against these bacteria can be impaired and rarely cause the so called “OPSI” syndrome.
Operations on the spleen can be necessary after trauma (splenic rupture), in bone marrow diseases, in deficiency of thrombocytes due to exceeding degradation (Werlhof disease), in hypersplenism or in case of ingrowth of tumors from neighboring organs (Stomach, Pancreas, Kidney, Adrenal) into the spleen. Rarely there is metastases from other malignant tumors in the spleen or abscess formation (for example in endocarditis due to bacterial embolisation).