Few diseases arise primarily within the spleen and most conditions which are seen at this site
represent secondary involvement by diseases originating elsewhere in the body. The role of the
hematopathologist in most cases is to provide confirmation of the known, or suspected, diagnosis and to
exclude unsuspected pathology. The key to successful interpretation of splenic pathology lies in careful
gross evaluation of the organ and in assuring optimal tissue fixation. Because of the amount of blood in
the spleen, thin sections are of particular importance. Particular care needs to be exercised in
isolating lymph nodes of the splenic hilum. Their examination can provide valuable additional
information, particularly in the diagnosis of low-grade lymphoma. Obtaining adequate clinical
information is often critical in the diagnostic characterization of disorders that involve the spleen,
and this need cannot be overemphasized.
In this syllabus, we aim to present a comprehensive account of those aspects of splenic pathology
likely to be encountered by the pathologists. We hope to provide principles for a systematic
histopathologic analysis, which can be applied to achieve diagnosis following recognition of broad
categories of abnormalities affecting individual splenic compartments.