Taylor Butler, 23, of East Bradenton, experienced fatigue, night sweats and excessive nose bleeds for as long as he can remember. In September 2019, lab work indicated he had dangerously low levels in his blood counts. He was eventually diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a rare autoimmune disease that occurs when the spleen destroys too many of the body’s platelets prematurely.
“Science has not yet figured out why this happens,” says David Dexter, MD, of Lakewood Ranch Medical Group General Surgery.
He was prescribed steroid medications. The medication caused bloating, depression, migraines and extreme fatigue. “I had a ‘moon face,’ because my face rounded out so much from water retention. When I looked in the mirror, I felt as if I did not know who I was,” says Butler.
Despite the distressing side effects, the steroids did help to stabilize Butler’s condition. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he had trouble accessing the healthcare he needed and resorted to self-monitoring. Fast forward to July 4, 2022, Butler experienced a nosebleed so bad that he was soaking through towels. Blood was filling his nasal cavity and coming out of his eyes. He was rushed to the emergency department at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, where lab work once again indicated dangerously low blood level counts. Steroid treatment was restarted but eventually stopped working. He was referred to Dr. Dexter for a robotic splenectomy, a minimally invasive procedure to remove the spleen.
“If you remove the spleen, you remove the process of the spleen destroying platelets prematurely,” says Dr. Dexter. “Splenectomy is not a guarantee, but it helps most people.” Butler’s blood levels began to normalize within one day of the surgery. Butler calls the procedure “life changing.”
“When I awoke from the surgery, I felt an incredible weight lifted from my shoulders,” says Butler.
“Robotic surgery requires only a very small incision,” says Dr. Dexter. “This often means a much quicker recovery and a decrease in the risk of wound infection.”
If you need a doctor, visit doctors.lakewoodranchmedicalcenter.com or call 800-816-4145.