Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic Overview

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Treating Leukemia - Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL) TOPICS

Surgery for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Surgery is rarely used in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Because leukemia is a disease of blood and bone marrow, it is not possible to cure it with surgery.

Rarely, an operation may be done to remove the spleen. If leukemia spreads to the spleen it can enlarge the organ enough for it to press on other organs and cause problems. If this happens, removing the spleen can provide relief, but it does not cure the leukemia. Another reason to remove the spleen is to improve blood cell counts. One of the spleen's normal functions is to remove worn-out blood cells from the bloodstream. If the spleen is enlarged, it may become too active in getting rid of blood cells, leading to a shortage of red blood cells or platelets. Taking out the spleen may help prevent this. And most people have no problem living without a spleen.

Last Medical Review: 08/05/2013
Last Revised: 11/04/2014