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General Medical Questions
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Question : What type of test could detect a wandering spleen?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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May 12, 2014
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Wandering spleen is a very rare disorder.

Normally, the spleen sits in the upper left part of the abdomen. It is held in place by ligaments. For unknown reasons, a newborn baby may have absent or very weak ligaments. So the spleen “wanders” away from its usual location to another part of the abdomen.

Another reason for a spleen to get loose is trauma.

Also, some medical conditions cause a very large spleen. Rarely, the heavy organ can stretch and weaken the ligaments that hold it in place.

A person could have a wandering spleen and never know it. But a loose spleen is more likely to turn and twist. This can cut off the blood supply to the spleen and cause abdominal pain.

The diagnosis can be made by an ultrasound, a CT scan or MRI of the abdomen.

Surgery is required for a wandering spleen. When possible, the surgeon tries to tie down the spleen so it can’t move. If the spleen has lost blood supply or it is too large, the surgeon will need to remove it completely.

 

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