The diagnostic value of splenectomy in patients without a definitive preoperative diagnosis

Patrick T. Hangge, William W. Sheaffer, Matthew Neville, Nabil Wasif, Richard J. Gray, Barbara A. Pockaj, Chee Chee H. Stucky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to describe the diagnostic value and therapeutic benefit of diagnostic splenectomy. Methods: Retrospective review was performed of patients undergoing splenectomy with an unknown diagnosis (UD), a hematologic malignancy (HM) or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Surgical indications and postoperative outcomes were evaluated. Results: 113 splenectomy patients were identified. Of the UD patients undergoing splenectomy, 46% (n = 16) received a definitive diagnosis postoperatively. A change in diagnosis occurred in 12% (n = 4) of HM patients. Complete symptom relief was observed more often in UD patients who received a definitive diagnosis after splenectomy 69% (n = 11), compared to the 47% (n = 9) who did not receive definitive diagnosis postoperatively. Conclusions: The diagnostic ability of splenectomy was 46% when the diagnosis was unknown preoperatively. Additionally, a majority of patients experienced relief of symptoms postoperatively. Splenectomy may be a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool in select UD and HM patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Diagnostic
  • Hematologic malignancy
  • Splenectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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