Surgery to Treat CML
It is very rare to have surgery for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The goal is not to cure the chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), but to improve symptoms. You might have surgery to remove a swollen spleen. The procedure is called a splenectomy. Your doctor may recommend a splenectomy if you have one or both of these problems:
What happens during surgery for CML
A surgeon performs a splenectomy in a hospital. Leading up to your surgery, your doctor makes sure that any infections you have are cleared up and that you have received any needed vaccinations. You may check into the hospital the day before your surgery or the day of your surgery depending on the type of procedure. You will meet with your surgeon and the doctor who is handling your anesthesia, called an anesthesiologist.
The day of your surgery, you will probably be told not to eat from early morning up until the time of your operation. The anesthesiologist gives you drugs to make you go to sleep.
The surgery takes between 90 minutes and three hours. The surgeon makes a cut in your abdomen, ties off the main artery going to your spleen, and removes the spleen. Your incision is then sewn up.
In some cases, the surgery may be done through several small incisions using special long, thin instruments and a tiny video camera. This operation, called a laparoscopic splenectomy, may result in a quicker recovery, but it may not be possible if the spleen is very large.
What to expect after surgery for CML
You are probably going to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery. During this time, and after you leave the hospital, you need to be careful to avoid infection. That's because your spleen is an organ that helps protect you from infection. Your doctor will probably recommend that you get vaccines to help prevent certain bacterial infections.