Your child's spleen was removed after your child was given general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
Most children recover quickly after spleen removal. Recovery from laparoscopic surgery is usually faster than recovery from open surgery.
Your child may have some of these symptoms. All of them should slowly go away:
If your child's spleen was removed for a blood disorder or lymphoma, your child may need more treatment depending on the disorder.
If your child is an infant, try not to let your baby cry for too long for the first 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. Staying calm yourself will help your baby stay calm. When you lift your baby, support both the baby's head and bottom for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Toddlers and older children will often stop any activity if they get tired. Do not press them to do more if they seem tired.
The doctor or nurse will tell you when it is okay for your child to return to school or daycare. This may be as soon as 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
For the first 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, your child should not do any activity during which there is a chance of falling. Your child also should not go bicycling, skateboarding, roller skating, play contact sports, or lift anything heavier than 3 pounds.
Climbing stairs is okay. Swimming is okay after the strips of tape have fallen off your child’s incisions, and the doctor says it is okay.
You can give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. The doctor may also prescribe other pain medicines to use at home if your child needs them.
Make sure your home is safe. For example, remove things, such as throw rugs, that might cause your child to trip and fall.
Your doctor will tell you when to stop keeping your child's incisions covered. Care for the incisions as instructed. Keep the incision area clean by washing it with mild soap and water.
You may remove the incision dressings (bandages) and give your child a shower. If strips of tape or surgical glue were used to close the incision:
Your child should not soak in a bathtub or hot tub or go swimming until your doctor says it is okay.
Most people live a normal active life without a spleen, but there is always a risk of getting an infection. This is because the spleen is part of the body's immune system, helping fight infections.
Your child will be more likely to get infections without a spleen:
For the first week after surgery, check your child’s temperature every day.
Ask your child’s doctor if your child should have these vaccinations:
Your child may need to take antibiotics every day for a while. Tell your child’s doctor if the medicine is causing your child any problems. Do not stop giving antibiotics before checking with your child’s doctor.
These things will help prevent infections in your child:
After surgery, most babies and infants (younger than 12 to 15 months) can take as much formula or breast milk as they want. Ask your child’s doctor first if this is right for your baby. Your child’s doctor or nurse may tell you how to add extra calories to formula.
Give toddlers and older children regular, healthy foods. The doctor or nurse will tell you about any changes you should make.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Splenectomy - child - discharge; Spleen removal - child - discharge
Shelton J, Holzman MD. The spleen. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 57.
Price VE, Blanchette VS, Ford-Jones EL. The prevention and management of infections in children with asplenia or hyposplenia. Infect Dis Clin of North Am. 2007;21:697-710, viii-ix.
Updated by: Matthew M. Cooper, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Surgery, HealthEast Care System, St. Paul, MN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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