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Solid Organ Surgery



Solid organ surgery includes surgery of the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and kidneys. There are a variety of different types of diseases that can affect these organs. A portion, or all of a solid organ may be removed if the organ contains a tumor, is hyperactive, or not functioning properly. There are a variety of surgical treatment options for solid organ disease, many of which can be performed laparoscopically.

The liver can develop tumors, originating from the liver such as the case with hemangiomas and hepatocellular carcinoma, or as a metastatic lesion from another organ.

The adrenal glands are located above the kidney on both the right and left sides. These organs produce both hormones and neurotransmitters. Tumors of the adrenal glands can develop and cause an overproduction of various hormones such as adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisone.

The spleen plays an important role in the maintenance of our blood and immune systems. The spleen filters your blood and traps things like damaged red blood cells, viruses, bacteria, and other debris that my cause an infection. The spleen is removed if it becomes enlarged, develops idiopathic thrombocytopenia, if it is injured, and during surgery for stomach cancer.


Most stomach operations require preoperative preparation which includes blood work, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition. If you have difficulties moving your bowels, an enema or similar preparation may be used after consulting with your surgeon.

  • You may be on several days of clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to the operation.
  • After midnight the night before the operation, you should not eat or drink anything except medications that your surgeon has told you are permissible to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
  • Drugs such as aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications (arthritis medications) and Vitamin E will need to be stopped temporarily for several days to a week prior to surgery
  • Quit smoking and arrange for any help you may need at home.


Results will vary depending upon the type of procedure performed, the reason for surgery, and patient’s overall condition. Please ask your surgeon about the anticipated outcome of the surgery, and make sure all of your questions are answered prior to surgery. Surgeons are happy to discuss your individual case. Common advantages of having the surgical procedure performed laparoscopically are:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • May shorten hospital stay
  • May result in a faster return to solid-food diet
  • May result in a quicker return of bowel function
  • Quicker return to normal activity
  • Improved cosmetic results



After the operation, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Although many people feel better in a few days, remember that your body needs time to heal. You are encouraged to be out of bed the day after surgery and to walk. This will help diminish the soreness in your muscles.

You will probably be able to get back to most of your normal activities in one to two weeks’ time. These activities include showering, driving, walking up stairs, working and engaging in sexual intercourse.


Complications of laparoscopic solid organ surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Changes in levels of hormones or neurotransmitters that were produced by the removed organ
  • Injury to adjacent organs such as the small intestine, ureter, or bladder
  • Blood clots to the lungs

It is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications. Contact your surgeon if you notice severe abdominal pain, fevers, chills, or rectal bleeding.

Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Bleeding
  • Increasing abdominal or groin swelling
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Inability to urinate
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from any location
  • Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
  • You are unable to eat or drink liquids