Being able to walk away from a car accident may seem like a blessing. Still, you should realize that not all accident-related injuries are immediately debilitating. That is, despite feeling and acting mostly fine, it is possible to have a life-threatening injury.
Your spleen is an internal organ that houses your white blood cells. In addition to helping your immune system fight infection, your spleen also filters dead and damaged red blood cells from circulation. It does not, however, have many pain receptors.
Car accidents are a leading cause of spleen injuries
According to the Mayo Clinic, most spleen injuries stem from trauma to the left upper abdomen. While you may suffer a spleen injury in a fistfight or during physical activity, car accidents are a leading cause of spleen damage. Unfortunately, you may not realize you have a spleen injury until hours after your car accident.
Spleen injuries are medical emergencies
If you have a spleen injury, you must treat it as a medical emergency. After all, a ruptured spleen can cause potentially life-threatening internal bleeding. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you should go to the emergency room immediately:
- Abdominal pain, especially in the upper left-hand side
- Tenderness when applying pressure to your abdomen
- Left shoulder pain
- Dizziness, confusion, nausea or disorientation
Doctors have some options for dealing with ruptured spleens. Nevertheless, in many cases, surgeons choose to remove the spleen while patients are under general anesthesia. If you have internal bleeding, though, you may require a blood transfusion.
Ultimately, while dealing with a ruptured spleen may be scary, the injury is usually survivable with immediate medical treatment.