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Ann Surg. 1994 Mar;219(3):225-35.

Autologous splenic transplantation for splenic trauma.

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.



The authors reviewed the experimental evidence, surgical technique, complications, and results of clinical trials evaluating the role of autologous splenic transplantation for splenic trauma.


Splenorrhaphy and nonoperative management of splenic injuries have now become routine aspects in the management of splenic trauma. Unfortunately, not all splenic injuries are readily amenable to conventional spleen-conserving approaches. Heterotopic splenic autotransplantation has been advocated for patients with severe grade IV and V injuries that would otherwise mandate splenectomy. For this subset of patients, splenic salvage by autotransplantation would theoretically preserve the critical role the spleen plays in the host's defense against infection.


The relevant literature relating to experimental or clinical aspects of splenic autotransplantation was identified and reviewed. Data are presented on the experimental evaluation of autogenous splenic transplantation, methods and complications of autotransplantation, choice of anatomic site and autograft size, and results of clinical trials in humans.


The most commonly used technique of autotransplantation in humans involves implanting tissue homogenates or sections of splenic parenchyma into pouches created in the gastrocolic omentum. Most authors have observed evidence of splenic function with normalization of postsplenectomy thrombocytosis, immunoglobulin M levels, and peripheral blood smears. Some degree of immune function of transplanted grafts has been demonstrated with in vivo assays, but the full extent of immunoprotection provided by human splenic autotransplants is currently unknown.


Multiple human and animal studies have established that splenic autotransplantation is a relatively safe and easily performed procedure that results in the return of some hematologic and immunologic parameters to baseline levels. Some aspects of reticuloendothelial function are also preserved. Whether this translates into a real reduction in the morbidity or mortality rates from overwhelming bacterial infection is unknown and requires further investigation.

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