Your spleen was removed after you were given general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
Your surgeon made 3 to 4 small cuts in your belly. The laparoscope and other medical instruments were inserted through these cuts. 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:
You should be able to keep a normal diet.
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 - 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.
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering.
If sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin, you may remove the wound dressings (bandages) and take a shower the day after surgery.
If tape strips (Steri-Strips) were used to close your skin, cover the wounds with plastic wrap before showering for the first week. Do not try to wash the Steri-Strips 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 infection.
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 just stop taking antibiotics before 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. 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.
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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