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Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-31

Torsion in a paediatric wandering spleen: Case report and review of literature

Department of Surgery, PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sham Lal Singla
Department of Surgery, PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9261.31087

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Pediatric wandering spleen is a clinical rarity. Generally it remains asymptomatic, but may present as a painless migratory lump in the left hypochondrium. Rarely it may present as acute abdomen after undergoing torsion over its pedicle leading to infarction and gangrene. Available treatment options include splenectomy or splenopexy. Splenectomy at times is associated with post-operative infections. Splenopexy may result in recurrent torsion.

Keywords: Splenic torsion, splenopexy, wandering spleen

How to cite this article:
Singla S, Rattan K N, Sharma S, Bansal S. Torsion in a paediatric wandering spleen: Case report and review of literature. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2007;12:30-1

How to cite this URL:
Singla S, Rattan K N, Sharma S, Bansal S. Torsion in a paediatric wandering spleen: Case report and review of literature. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2007 [cited 2023 Nov 28];12:30-1. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2007/12/1/30/31087

   Introduction Top

Wandering spleen is a rare anatomical entity associated with a high incidence of splenic torsion and infarction. It is usually seen in the age range of 20-40 years and is rare in children.[1] The 51st case in children up to 10 years was reported in 1992, we found 24 more such cases till March 2005 ours being the 76th case in literature.[2] Increasing use of investigative modalities has made it possible to even recognize an intrauterine torsion of a wandering spleen.[3]

Absence or laxity of the splenic suspensory ligaments results in increased splenic mobility thereby allowing it to rotate axially on its long pedicle.[4] Torsion may vary from ½ to 6 complete turns around its axis depending upon the weight of spleen, length of pedicle and degree of ligamentous laxity. Here, we describe a case of wandering spleen complicated by splenic infarction. Early recognition of the condition and timely surgical intervention are highlighted to prevent complications.

   Case Report Top

A previously healthy, 9-year-old male child presented with a history of pain abdomen in left hypochondrium for two days. Pain was sudden in onset associated with episodes of vomiting and mild abdominal distension. Clinical examination revealed a tender, smooth, mobile lump, 15 x 12 cm, in the left flank. Ultrasonography diagnosed this lump to be a mobile spleen with torsion of its pedicle. Contrast enhanced computerized tomography showed no enhancement and thus confirmed the diagnosis of splenic torsion [Figure - 1]A,B.

Urgent laparotomy was undertaken. An enlarged infarcted spleen approximately 16 x 10 cm, twisted on its pedicle by 360o was found. After derotation, viability of spleen appeared compromised. Emergency splenectomy was done. Postoperatively the child was vaccinated against pneumococcus and H. influenza along with long acting Penicillins. There was no postoperative complication and the patient was discharged in satisfactory condition.

   Discussion Top

The origin of wandering spleens has been attributed to mesenchymal differentiation in dorsal mesogastrium during embryonal development.

Abell first reported the most comprehensive review of literature on this subject in 1933. Mayo Clinics reported an incidence of 0.02% in the 1003 splenectomies undertaken between 1904 and 1945. It is commonly reported in females of childbearing age and rarely seen in children.[5] Hormonal changes during pregnancy, multiparity, splenomegaly, visceroptosis, and poor abdominal tone are predisposing factors in adults.

A male predominance has been found in children less than 10 years with M: F ratio of 6:1 while a female predominance is seen in adults.[4],[5]

Wandering spleen may remain asymptomatic or may present clinically in the form of a freely mobile lump in abdomen, acute pancreatitis or intestinal obstruction. Sudden torsion may result in acute abdomen with life threatening complications like splenic infarction, gangrene, splenic abscess or rupture with a mortality rate as high as 50%.[6] Episodes of acute torsion result in intermittent abdominal pain which may cause splenic vein thrombosis leading to left sided portal hypertension, gastric hemorrhage or congestive splenomegaly. Internal herniation of the wandering spleen has also been reported to cause recurrent abdominal pain.[7]

An association of gastric volvulus with wandering spleen has also been described. This is due to the common etiology of abnormal peritoneal visceral attachments. Pre-operative clinical diagnosis of torsion spleen is difficult as symptoms are non-specific. Duplex ultrasonography and angio spiral CT abdomen are diagnostic.[1]

Recently, magnetic resonance imaging and newer modalities such as liver-spleen scintigraphy, blood pool scintigraphy, and radio-labelled leucocytes have been tried.[8],[9],[10]

Initially, splenectomy was the treatment of choice. Currently, owing to overwhelming post-splenectomy sepsis and high mortality, splenectomy is indicated only if the blood supply to the spleen cannot be restored on detorsion.[11]

Aiming to preserve splenic function, various techniques of splenopexy have been used. These include pexing the spleen by its capsule to the left upper quadrant laparoscopically, forming a post-erolateral extraperitoneal pocket at the level of 12th rib, mobilizing the splenic flexure of colon and then fixing the greater curvature of stomach to anterior abdominal wall and the use of polyglycolic mesh.[7],[12]

Splenopexy is followed by a high relapse rate. Auto transplantation of viable splenic tissue in greater omentum or retroperitoneum is another option if the spleen is viable.

   References Top

1.Desai DC, Hebra A, Davidoff AM, Schnaufer L. Wandering spleen: A challenging diagnosis. South Med J 1997;90:439-43.   Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  
2.Rodkey ML, Macknin ML. Paediatric wandering spleen: Case report and review of literature. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 1992;31:289-94.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  
3.Nawaz A, Jacobsz A, Matta H, Al-Khouder G, Ansari F, Al-Salem AH. Intrauterine torsion of a wandering spleen presenting as an abdominal cystic swelling. J Pediatr Surg 2000;35:1508-10.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
4.Sodhi KS, Saggar K, Sood BP, Sandhu P. Torsion of a wandering spleen: Acute abdominal presentation. J Emerg Med 2003;25:133-7.   Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
5.Allen KB, Andrews G. Pediatric wandering spleen-the case for splenopexy: Review of 35 reported cases in the literature. J Pediatr Surg 1989;24:432-5.   Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
6.Moran JC, Shah U, Singer JA. Spontaneous rupture of a wandering spleen: Case report and literature review. Curr Surg 2003;60:310-2.   Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
7.Andley M, Basu S, Chibber P, Ravi B, Kumar A. Internal herniation of wandering spleen - a rare cause of recurrent abdominal pain. Int Surg 2000;85:322-4.   Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  
8.Arda K, Kizilkanat K, Celik M, Turkalp E. Intermittent torsion of a wandering spleen in a child: The role of MRI in diagnosis. JBR-BTR 2004;87:70-2.   Back to cited text no. 8  [PUBMED]  
9.Shimizu M, Seto H, Kageyama M, Wu YW, Nagayoshi T, Kamisaki Y, et al . The value of combined 99mTc-Sn-colloid and 99m Tc-RBC scintigraphy in the evaluation of a wandering spleen. Ann Nucl Med 1995;9:145-7.  Back to cited text no. 9  [PUBMED]  
10.Posillico LF, Shah AN. A wandering spleen. Detection by in- 111 leukocyte imaging. Clin Nucl Med 1996;21:287-9.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Stringel G, Soucy P, Mercer S. Torsion of the wandering spleen: Splenectomy or splenopexy. J Pediatr Surg 1982;17:373-5.   Back to cited text no. 11  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
12.Cohen MS, Soper NJ, Underwood RA, Quasebarth M, Brunt LM. Laparoscopic splenopexy for wandering (pelvic) spleen. Surg Laparosc Endosc 1998;8:286-90.  Back to cited text no. 12  [PUBMED]  


[Figure - 1]

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