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Hepatol Res. 2008 Dec;38(12):1159-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2008.00384.x. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

Recent role of splenectomy in chronic hepatic disorders.

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The Department of Surgery, the University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.


For years splenectomy in hepatic disorders has been indicated only for the treatment of gastro-esophageal varices. However, with recent advances in medical and surgical treatments for chronic hepatic disorders, the use of splenectomy has been greatly expanded, such that splenectomy is used for reversing hypersplenism, for applying interferon treatment for hepatitis C, for treating hyperdynamic portal circulation associated with intractable ascites, and for controlling portal pressure during small grafts in living donor liver transplantation. Such experiences have shown the importance of portal hemodynamics, even in cirrhotic livers. Recent advances in surgical techniques have enabled surgeons to perform splenectomy more safely and less invasively, but the procedure still has considerable clinical outcomes. Splenectomy in hepatic disorders may become a more common procedure with expanded indications. However, it should also be noted that the long-term effects of splenectomy, in terms of improved hematological or hepatic function, is still not guaranteed. Moreover, the impact of splenectomy on immunologic status remains unclear and needs to be elucidated in both experimental and clinical settings.

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