Q:

What does pain in the left rib cage over the spleen indicate?

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Quick Answer

Pain under the left rib cage and upper abdomen in the area of the spleen may indicate splenomegaly, or enlargement of the spleen. Common symptoms include pain, fullness, discomfort and inability to eat large amounts of food, states WebMD. Other symptoms of splenomegaly are typically the result of the underlying cause of the enlarged spleen. These symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, jaundice, anemia, frequent infections and easy bleeding.

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Full Answer

An enlarged spleen can be the result of infection, liver disease, conditions involving abnormal blood cells, certain cancers or traumatic injury, reports WebMD. A doctor can perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the symptoms and the best method of treatment. It is important to seek medical attention for symptoms of splenomegaly, as some underlying conditions can be life-threatening and the sooner a patient begins treatment, the less likely he is to need surgical removal of the spleen. In many cases, the splenomegaly resolves on its own after treatment of the underlying condition.

If surgery is necessary, surgeons commonly use a laparoscopic procedure using small incisions to remove the spleen rather than performing open surgery, according to WebMD. Without the spleen, the body is more vulnerable to infection since it cannot clear certain types of bacteria from the system effectively. Many patients need vaccines or medication to remain healthy after losing their spleen.

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