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Can spleen problems cause my spleen to rupture?

I had a swollen spleen but we managed it. Now people are telling me I should have it removed or else it could burst. What should I do?
The answer to this question depends on why you had the swollen spleen, and whether or not it is still swollen. There are various different illnesses that people get that cause an enlarged spleen. The spleen can get bigger because it houses white blood cells. If you have an infection, these white blood cells will multiply and make your spleen bigger. The infection that is known to cause this more than any other is mononucleosis (or just "mono"). This infection can cause an enlarged spleen that stays large for several months. There are rare cases of where the spleen ruptures if the person with mono is in a car accident or is playing a rough contact sport. Obviously a spleen rupture can be life threatening. Thus, we tell people to make sure that they don't play contact sports in the months following a mononucleosis infection. However, we don't remove the person's spleen. While someone can live without a spleen, it does put people at risk of bad infections. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss whether or not your spleen is still enlarged and if this represents a real problem. If it does, then you can discuss what the next step in management is. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
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  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
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