Ultrasound of the Spleen

The spleen is a retroperitoneal organ that is located at the upper left abdomen.

Function of the Spleen

Helps remove foreign waste from the bloodstream. The spleen distributes antibodies and lymphocytes to initiate Immune defense reaction. It is the largest lymphoid organ that filters old damaged cells.

Why is an ultrasound of the spleen important?

Patients who have a history of leukemia, unspecified Infection or trauma to their left side of the abdomen should have their spleen evaluated through ultrasound. Ultrasound of the spleen can help aide in detecting irregularities within the spleen parenchyma, diagnose enlargement of the spleen or possible splenic rupture. Calcifications, tumors , enlargement of the spleen and other abnormalities of the spleen can easily be diagnosed by ultrasound.

Indications for Splenic Ultrasound vs. Abnormal Lab Values

  • Infections
  • Leukopenia
  • Trauma to the left flank
  • Changes in Hematocrit count
  • Changes in Hemoglobin count
  • Abnormal Leukocyte count


In order for an ultrasound of the spleen to be performed it is required to fast prior to the procedure. Fasting helps eliminate bowel gas within the abdomen and aids in better visualization of the spleen.

Benefit of Splenic Ultrasound

Having the spleen examined through ultrasound will help detect enlargement of the spleen that can be caused by a variety of disorders including infections, malignancies and more. Since the spleen produces antibodies and lymphocytes for our body’s natural immune defense system, it is important for patients with a history of abnormal blood tests, diagnosis of Ebstein Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), or a history of leukemia to obtain an ultrasound of the spleen.

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