Your spleen was removed after you were given general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
Your surgeon made an incision (cut) in the middle of your belly or on the left side of your belly just below your ribs. If you are being treated for cancer, the surgeon probably also removed the lymph nodes in your belly.
Recovering from open spleen removal surgery takes 4 to 8 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms as you recover:
If your spleen was removed for a blood disorder or lymphoma, you may need additional treatments, depending on your medical disorder.
Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital. Do NOT drive yourself home.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 4 to 8 weeks. Before that:
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 be more effective 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.
Change the dressing over your surgical wound once a day, or sooner if it gets wet or dirty. Your doctor will tell when you can stop keeping your wound 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 take showers if sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin.
If tape strips (Steri-Strips) were used to close your incision:
Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub or go swimming until your doctor tells you it is okay.
Most people live a normal active life without a spleen, but there is always a risk of an 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 - adult - discharge; Spleen removal - adult - 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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