Splenic Abscess Complicating Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review

Md Mahfooz Buksh, Simon Tallowin, Ahmad Al Samaraee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Bariatric surgery has become one of the most rapidly growing subspecialty performed globally, and it has been well reported to be associated with low morbidity and mortality rates. Splenic abscess is a rare but serious complication of bariatric surgery that has not been previously systematically reviewed in the literature. Methods: The authors have performed a systematic review of the evidence that has looked into the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and the management options of splenic abscess complicating bariatric surgery. Results: This systematic review has been unsurprisingly based on level-IV evidence due to the rarity of the explored condition. The final analysis included 27 relevant reported cases. The mean age was 38 years and the mean of the time interval between the initial operation and developing splenic abscess was 72 days, with the male to female ratio being 1:1.6. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was the initial operation in 85.2% of the patients. Nearly half of the patients did not have an objective evidence of local or systemic sepsis that could explain the abscess formation. Nonsurgical management was attempted in 14 patients, with 34% success rate only. Splenectomy was needed in 41.7% of the patients. No mortality was reported. Conclusions: Splenic abscess is a rare and rather late but serious complication of bariatric surgery that could result in splenectomy in a relatively young group of patients. It is more commonly reported following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Early diagnosis with intervention in a timely manner is crucial to avoid life threatening complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • bariatric surgery
  • complications
  • laparoscopy
  • metabolic surgery
  • obesity surgery
  • sleeve gastrectomy
  • spleen
  • splenic abscess
  • surgery


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