A rupture of the spleen is a medical emergency, as the internal bleeding that develops can be life-threatening. Emergency surgery may be required, and in some cases, surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy) may be necessary to control the bleeding. Less severe cases can be treated with several days of hospital care and close monitoring.
Signs and symptoms of a ruptured spleen (usually after trauma to the abdomen) include:
- Pain in the upper left abdomen
- Tenderness when you touch the upper left abdomen
- Distention of the abdomen
- Left shoulder pain
- Confusion, light-headedness or dizziness
Seek emergency attention after an injury if your signs and symptoms indicate that you may have a ruptured spleen. A surgical consult is necessary.
If you've been diagnosed with an enlarged spleen, ask your doctor whether you need to avoid activities that could cause it to rupture, such as contact sports, heavy lifting and other activities that increase the risk of abdominal trauma.
MBBS, MMed (Surgery), MSc, FAMS, FRCSEd
Prior to private practice, Dr Lee Ser Yee was a founding member and Senior Consultant at the Department of Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) and Transplant Surgery at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). He served as the Director of the Laparoscopic programme and the Director of the Surgical Skills Training Program and the SingHealth Surgical Skills Centre.
He started his medical training at the National University of Singapore in 1996 and completed his training in General Surgery, HPB surgery and Liver Transplantation at SGH and National Cancer Centre, Singapore.
He also completed dual USA-fellowships in Advanced Laparoscopic HPB surgery and Liver Transplantation under Professor Daniel Cherqui at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center and a Complex Surgical Oncology clinical fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.