Hematologic Disorders

Hematologic disorders involve the blood and include problems with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen. Children can experience a variety of disorders, some are genetic while others are acquired. At Mount Sinai, our team of surgical experts treats a wide range of hematologic conditions.

About Hematologic Disorders

Hematologic disorders can affect your child’s spleen, lymphatic system, or blood vessels.   

  • Spleen problems can have many causes. Sometimes the spleen becomes very large or stops working properly, which can cause low platelet (thrombycytopenia) and low blood counts (anemia).
  • Lymphatic conditions, such as a lymphatic malformation, can cause a variety of symptoms. Lymphatic malformations are benign masses that result from improperly-developed lymph channels. If left untreated, they can increase in size and cause repeated infections.
  • Abnormally formed blood vessels can cause vascular malformations and hemangiomas, which are non-cancerous tumors.
  • Abnormally-formed blood cells can result in a variety of conditions, such as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), sickle cell disease and hereditary spherocytosis. These conditions can result in low blood counts (anemia), low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) and cause many symptoms, including shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, paleness, lack of energy and easy bruising.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose hematological disorders, we start with a physical examination and medical history. But generally, we discover blood disorders through performing a complete blood count. This blood test tells us about your child’s red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin levels. We may also do a bone marrow biopsy, taking a sample of your child’s bone marrow and sending it to the lab for testing.

We often treat hematologic disorders with medications and blood transfusions, but if that does not work, we can remove the spleen (splenectomy), the mass in the lymphatic system, or the malformation surgically. We perform this procedure using a minimally invasive approach (laparoscopy) whenever possible. At Mount Sinai, our surgeons achieve excellent cosmetic and functional outcomes. When appropriate, our pediatric surgeons work together on such procedures with other specialists, including interventional radiologists and plastic surgeons.