Your spleen was removed after you were given general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
The surgeon made 3 to 4 small incisions (cuts) in your belly. The laparoscope and other medical instruments were inserted through these cuts. Carbon dioxide gas was pumped into your belly to expand the area to help your surgeon see better.
Recovering from laparoscopic spleen removal usually takes about 1 to 3 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms as you recover:
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering. For example, remove throw rugs to prevent tripping and falling. To stay safe in the bathroom, install grab bars to help you get in and out of the tub or shower.
Start walking soon after surgery. Begin your everyday activities as soon as you feel up to it. Move around the house, shower, and use the stairs at home during the first week. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.
You may be able to drive after 7 to 10 days if you are not taking narcotic pain drugs. You may lift 15 pounds or less. Do not do any heavy lifting or straining for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.
You may be able to go back to a desk job within a few weeks.
Your doctor will prescribe pain medicines for you to use at home. If you are taking pain pills 3 or 4 times a day, try taking them at the same times each day for 3 to 4 days. They may work better this way.
Try getting up and moving around if you are having some pain in your belly. This may ease your pain.
Press a pillow over your incision when you cough or sneeze to ease discomfort and protect your incision.
If sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin, you may remove the dressings (bandages) and take a shower the day after surgery.
If strips of tape strips were used to close your skin, cover the incisions with plastic wrap before showering for the first week. Do not try to wash the tape off. They will fall off in about a week.
Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub or go swimming until your doctor tells you it is okay (usually 1 week).
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.
You will be more likely to get infections after your spleen is removed:
Keeping up to date on your immunizations will be very important. Ask your doctor if you should have these vaccinations:
You may need to take antibiotics every day for some time. Do not stop taking antibiotics without checking with your doctor. Some people will need to take antibiotics every day for several years after surgery.
Things you can do to help prevent infections:
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Splenectomy - microscopic - discharge; Laparoscopic splenectomy - discharge
Cadili A, de Gara C. Complications of splenectomy. Am J Med. 2008;121:371-375.
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.
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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