Spleen Damage During Adult Liver Donation Surgery
Spleen damage during adult liver donation surgery, while a very rare occurrence, has been known to happen. In the one reported case in the United States, the transplant surgery involved the left lobe of the donor's liver rather than the right. Doctors take careful steps to prevent spleen damage during adult liver donation surgery.
A rare event that may happen during liver donation surgery is injury to the spleen. The spleen lies beneath the diaphragm -- the muscle that separates the chest and lungs from your abdomen. It plays a role in maintaining the proper amount of blood in your body, producing some types of blood cells and recovering some of the material from worn-out red blood cells. It's also involved in removing blood cells and bacteria from the blood.
Spleen damage has not been reported in the typical right-lobe donation that's used when an adult is receiving a liver transplant. When the left lobe of the liver is transplanted, however, injury to the spleen does become possible. However, this happens in less than 1 out of every 100 cases.
If the spleen is injured and can't be repaired, it will be removed. Because the spleen also helps prevent bacterial infections, like pneumonia, if your spleen is removed, you will probably have to get vaccinations to prevent these types of infections. These infections can also be treated with antibiotics. If the infections are serious and are not treated, they can cause death.