Medical Practice

Surgery in Management of Patients with Leukaemia

Br Med J 1973; 3 doi: (Published 08 September 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;3:528
  1. A. S. D. Spiers


    Though leukaemia is not a “surgical” disease, the need for surgery in patients with leukaemia is increasing. Acute surgical problems in such patients present diagnostic difficulties, and accepted surgical principles do not necessarily apply in patients with very abnormal haematological and immunological features. The improved prognosis in some types of leukaemia means that elective surgical procedures, which formerly would not have been considered, may now be applicable just as they would be in patients with non-malignant conditions.

    Recent advances in the management of the leukaemias include several surgical procedures—for example, to facilitate intravenous or intrathecal therapy. Splenectomy is of value in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia when the correct indications are present, while early elective splenectomy, when no classical indications are present, may have a useful role in the management of patients with chronic granulocytic leukaemia.

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