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What Can Cause Splenic Lesions?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The spleen is an organ that controls and creates blood cells. When the spleen's tissue becomes inflamed, it is known as a splenic lesion. There are several causes of splenic lesions, including cysts, organ trauma and sarcoidosis. The underlying cause of the splenic lesion will determine the treatment plan.

Cysts in the spleen can be a cause of splenic lesions. Infections are a typical cause of a spleen cyst. The size of the cyst, the amount of pain the cyst is causing a patient and whether the cyst is benign all play a major role when a doctor decides whether to remove a splenic cyst. If there are just one or two painful but benign cysts, a doctor might be able to drain or remove the cysts. When multiple cysts or cancer cells are found, then a patient might require a splenectomy, which is a surgery to have the entire spleen removed from the body.

Traumatic physical injuries are another cause of lesions on the spleen. Injuries to the abdominal area caused by fighting or an accident can injure the spleen. Spleen trauma can be very serious because it can cause a potential spleen rupture. After a spleen ruptures, a person can bleed internally, which can be life-threatening. Hospital treatment can determine whether a ruptured spleen needs to be removed immediately or whether the spleen can heal with proper care.

Sarcoidosis is a less common but valid cause of splenic lesions. This disease typically causes serious inflammation in the liver, lungs and lymph nodes. The spleen is part of the lymphatic system, so lesions can occur there even though the spleen is not the main site of this disease. A doctor might check the spleen for inflammation even if a sarcoidosis diagnosis is made by biopsying another part of the body, such as the lungs. Many patients who have sarcoidosis are placed on corticosteroid treatment, typically for one to two years.

If a person has pain in the lower abdomen that cannot be explained, he or she might need to visit a medical professional who can determine whether a splenic lesion might be the cause. Being unable to finish a meal because of discomfort below the rib cage can be another sign something is wrong with a person's spleen. Patients might experience weight loss if this effect continues. A doctor can do a computed tomography (CT) scan to determine whether there is an issue with the spleen.

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Discussion Comments

By anon994724 — On Mar 02, 2016

I had gastric bypass surgery yesterday and my surgeon noted lesions on my spleen while in there looking around. He surmised they were endometrial cells. However, after doing some research of my own, I found endometrial cells don't grow on the spleen. Like, it's never been seen.

My surgeon hasn't even discussed this with me. I found it in my medical record. Should I ask for a work up? I'm not sure I'm up for this during recovery!

By anon304385 — On Nov 19, 2012

I want my cysts removed. Both my dad's and mom's side of the family suffered from cysts, so my doc is setting up an appointment with a surgeon.

By serenesurface — On Mar 24, 2012

I had an enlarged spleen with splenic lesions because of portal hypertension. Basically there was bleeding in my spleen because of very dilated veins.

I had to have a surgical procedure to constrict the veins and stop the bleeding. My lesions were also removed, and thankfully they were not found to be cancerous. I'm on regular medication now for hypertension.

By fify — On Mar 23, 2012

@burcidi-- Yea, I'm in the same exact situation but my doctor is not planning on removing the lesions. I went through a ridiculous amount of testing with nothing. I'm actually happy about that. There is a history of cancer in my family so I was scared out of my wits that it was cancer. I'm glad that it isn't.

All we're doing right now is regularly monitoring the lesions for changes and to check for new lesions. It's probably going to continue this way until a change occurs. I thankfully don't have any abdominal pain like most people with spleen lesions do, so I'm not worried.

By the way, have you had your lungs and lymph nodes checked? You might want to make sure that nothing is out of order there if you haven't yet.

By burcidi — On Mar 23, 2012

I have been diagnosed with two splenic lesions. However, my doctor has not been able to find the cause of it. He hasn't seen indications of cancer so far, and he says I don't have an infection either. He even had several other specialists take a look at it because I mentioned I would go for a second opinion. They haven't been able to figure it out either.

Has anyone had splenic lesions of unidentified cause before? If you did, what was your treatment plan?

My doctor wants me to wait for a short while and repeat my tests before he removes the lesions. I'm okay with that but I'm also worried about the reason for the lesions on my spleen not being known yet.

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