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 decrease:
If your spleen was removed for a blood disorder or lymphoma, you may need additional treatment, depending on your medical disorder.
If your child is an infant, try not to let them 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 their 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.
Your 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 - 3 weeks after surgery.
For the first 2 -3 weeks after surgery, your child should not do any activity where there is a chance of falling. Your child also should not go bicycling, skateboarding, roller skating, play any contact sports, or lift anything heavier than 3 pounds.
Climbing stairs is okay. Swimming is okay after the tape strips (Steri-Strips) have fallen off your child’s surgical wounds, and the doctor says it is okay.
You may 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. See also: Bathroom safety - children
Your doctor will tell you when to stop keeping your child's wounds covered. Keep the wound area clean by washing it with mild soap and water. See also: Surgical wound care
You may remove the wound dressings (bandages) and give your child a shower. If Steri-Strips 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 an infection.
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 just 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 a regular, healthy diet. 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
Cadili A, de Gara C. Complications of splenectomy. American Journal of Medicine. May 2008;121(5).
Beauchamp RD, Holzman MD, Fabian TC, Weinberg JA. The spleen. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 56.
Price VE, Blanchette VS, Ford-Jones EL. The prevention and management of infections in children with asplenia or hyposplenia. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. September 2007;21(3).
Updated by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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