Diseases & Conditions


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Wandering Spleen


Synonyms of Wandering Spleen
  • Displaced Spleen
  • Drifting Spleen
  • Floating Spleen
  • Pelvic Spleen
  • Splenic Ptosis
  • Splenoptosis
  • Systopic Spleen
  • WS

Disorder Subdivisions



    General Discussion
    Congenital wandering spleen is a very rare, randomly distributed birth defect characterized by the absence or weakness of one or more of the ligaments that hold the spleen in its normal position in the upper left abdomen. The disorder is not genetic in origin. Instead of ligaments, the spleen is attached by a stalk-like tissue supplied with blood vessels (vascular pedicle). If the pedicle is twisted in the course of the movement of the spleen, the blood supply may be interrupted or blocked (ischemia) to the point of severe damage to the blood vessels (infarction). Because there is little or nothing to hold it in place the spleen wanders in the lower abdomen or pelvis where it may be mistaken for an unidentified abdominal mass.

    The spleen is a small organ located in the upper left portion of the abdomen. The spleen removes or filters out unnecessary or foreign material, breaks down and eliminates worn out blood cells, and produces white blood cells, which aid the body in fighting infection.
    Symptoms of wandering spleen are typically those associated with an abnormally large size of the spleen (splenomegaly) or the unusual position of the spleen in the abdomen. Enlargement is most often the result of twisting (torsion) of the splenic arteries and veins or, in some cases, the formation of a blood clot (infarct) in the spleen.

    Acquired wandering spleen may occur during adulthood due to injuries or other underlying conditions that may weaken the ligaments that hold the spleen in its normal position (e.g., connective tissue disease or pregnancy).

    Organizations related to Wandering Spleen
    • March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
      1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
      White Plains NY 10605
      Phone #: 914-428-7100
      800 #: 888-663-4637
      e-mail: Askus@marchofdimes.com
      Home page: http://www.marchofdimes.com
    • NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center
      P.O. Box 30105
      Bethesda MD 20824-0105
      Phone #: 301-592-8573
      800 #: --
      e-mail: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov
      Home page: N/A



    For a Complete Report

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ? (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html