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Pediatric Spleen Cysts

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Summary

Cysts in the spleen are very rare but can be caused by trauma or infection.  Occasionally they occur without any obvious cause.  They can cause pain or fever if they become infected. Simple cysts can sometimes be treated with an injection of a substance that causes them to scar down and go away, while others may need to be removed. 

Since the spleen helps to fight certain types of infection, patients who need a scheduled splenectomy should be appropriately vaccinated by their pediatrician or hematologist before surgery.

Treatment

Splenectomy

Depending on the nature of the cyst, it might require removal of part or all of the spleen (splenectomy).  A splenectomy is occasionally required if the spleen is ruptured and bleeding. 

Most patients who undergo a splenectomy need it because they have a hemoglobin disease (hemoglobinopathy) like hereditary spherocytosis or sickle cell disease. In these diseases, the spleen may need to be removed if it consumes red blood cells at a rate that causes the patient to have a symptomatic anemia

This operation can frequently be done using a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) technique but may need to be done with an open incision.

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