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noun, plural: splenoses

A condition characterized by the presence of an ectopic splenic tissue, usually following splenic trauma or splenectomy


Splenosis is a condition wherein the patient forms splenic tissue in in an abnormal place or position (i.e. ectopic). Splenic nodules may be found on the abdominal cavity and mesentery. In rare occasions, splenosis may form in the thorax. This occurs when the splenic injury is coupled with a diaphragmatic rupture.1

The nodules form when the spleen undergoes physical trauma such as caused by car accidents, gunshots, stab wounds, or by splenectomy (i.e. spleen surgery). Fragments from the spleen may be displaced and undergo autotransplantation to unusual sites, especially on places that are well vascularized.

Splenosis, though, should not be confused with splenunculus. They are both nodules with splenic tissues and are detached from the spleen. The difference is that the splenunculus forms during embryogenesis, and therefore, is a congenital condition. Failure of the spleen components to fuse during embryogenesis leads to the formation of one or more detached nodules. Splenosis, on the contrary, is acquired, generally, after physical trauma of the spleen.

Word origin: splen- (a combining form representing spleen) + -osis (condition)


See also:

1Naylor MF, Karstaedt N, Finck SJ, Burnett OL. Noninvasive methods of diagnosing thoracic splenosis. Ann Thorac Surg. 1999 Jul;68(1):243-4. PubMed