Surgical Procedures for Leukemia
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Most other cancers form solid tumors, but leukemia does not. It is made up of single cells that travel all over the body. Surgery is used to ease problems caused by leukemia or to support other treatments.
Leukemia cells travel in the blood and can become trapped inside the organs. The spleen is a small organ that filters the blood. It often becomes clogged. This causes the spleen to swell leading to pain, tiredness, a full feeling after eating very little, and easy bleeding.
Sometimes, the only way to ease these problems is to remove the spleen. Surgery can be done through small cuts in the belly. This is called laparoscopic surgery. You can live without a spleen, but it raises the risk of getting an infection such as pneumonia. There are steps you can take to lower this risk.
An access catheter eliminates the need for repeated needlesticks. A catheter is a tube that is placed inside the body. The types are:
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Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 3/13/2019
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