Like many other injuries, the causes of abdominal trauma are wide and varied. One example of a serious abdominal injury is a splenic laceration. The spleen rests under the bottom of the rib cage. It plays a big role in fighting infections and managing the body’s white and red blood cells. Unfortunately, spleen injuries can also lead to a tremendous amount of blood loss. Like other examples of abdominal trauma, spleen injuries could result in severe internal bleeding. Regardless of whether or not someone suffered blunt or abdominal trauma, it is possible that they might have suffered a splenic laceration.
Mechanisms of a Splenic Laceration
The most common way that people sustain a laceration of their spleen is through blunt abdominal trauma. This could occur in:
- A car accident
- A motorcycle accident
- Bicycle accidents
- Auto versus pedestrian injuries
- Physical assault
- Competitive sports
There are some cases where people could suffer a laceration of their spleen following an infection or a hematological disorder. However, these are exceedingly rare. Spleen lacerations can happen with either blunt trauma or penetrating injuries. Examples of blunt trauma include striking the dashboard or steering wheel in the car or from hitting the pavement in a traumatic event. Penetrating injuries can occur secondary to handlebars, glass, or metal shrapnel. Some of the symptoms of a lacerated spleen include:
- Severe pain in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen
- Large bruising in this same location
- Pain that gets worse with movement
These symptoms are concerning for a serious spleen injury. It is important for people to seek medical care as quickly as possible.
Watch YouTube Video: Understanding Trauma – Splenic Lacerations & Spleen Injury Grading. In this video, Dr. Buck Parker, a medical expert for the media, explains all the ins and outs of a splenic laceration.
Treatment of a Laceration of the Spleen
If someone presents to the doctor with symptoms of a lacerated spleen, this diagnosis will need to be confirmed on a CT scan or an MRI. The laceration should be apparent on these imaging modalities. If this diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will need to grade the severity of the laceration. If active bleeding is apparent, the individual might need surgery to close the laceration. In minor lacerations, surgery could be avoided. In this case, the treatment will include:
- Possible IV fluids, blood transfusions, or antibiotics
- Pain control with anti-inflammatory medications and narcotics
- Strict abdominal rest
- Refraining from physical activity
Over time, the laceration should heal on its own. On the other hand, large splenic lacerations could also lead to serious complications. Some of these could even be life-threatening.
Complications of a Spleen Injury
Without a doubt, the most deadly complication of a lacerated spleen is a splenic rupture. The spleen is protected by a capsule that holds it in place. In a splenic laceration, this capsule is damaged. In severe cases, it could lead to a total rupture. This leads to a massive amount of internal bleeding. Signs of a ruptured spleen, in addition to the symptoms discussed above, include:
- A rising heart rate
- Extreme thirst
- Altered mental status
- A falling blood pressure
- Feeling cold and clammy
A ruptured spleen is a surgical emergency. If someone has been diagnosed with a ruptured spleen, they are rushed to the operating room. A surgeon will then open up the individual and identify the ruptured spleen. The surgeon will stop the bleeding and remove the fragments of the spleen. It is easy to see how this can become a stressful time for loved ones. It is important for families in this situation to ask for help.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. A laceration of the spleen can lead to severe internal bleeding that could require emergency surgery to stop. If someone you care about has sustained a serious abdominal injury following a traumatic accident, contact me today at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.
Everyone is invited to take a look at some of our verdicts or settlements here.
Splenic Laceration: AutoAccident.com
Image Attribution: The image that has been posted at the start of this article is stored in its original form on Pixabay. The image has been shown here with permission/Splenic Laceration.
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