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Spleen removal - child - discharge

Splenectomy - child - discharge; Spleen removal - child - discharge

Your child had surgery to remove the spleen. Now that your child is going home, follow the surgeon's instructions on how to care for your child at home. Use the information below as a reminder.

When Your Child Was in the Hospital

Your child's spleen was removed after your child was given general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).

What to Expect at Home

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.

Activity

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.

Your health care provider will tell you when it is OK for your child to return to school or daycare. This may be as soon as 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

Your child's activity restrictions will depend on:

Ask your doctor about specific activity instructions and limitations.

In general, walking and climbing stairs is OK.

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.

Wound Care

Your doctor will tell you when to remove your child's dressings. Care for the incisions as instructed. Keep the incision area clean and dry. Only wash it if instructed by your doctor.

You may remove the incision dressings (bandages) to 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 OK.

Preventing Infections

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 certain 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 (or already had) these vaccines:

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:

Other Care

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 provider may tell you how to add extra calories to formula.

Give toddlers and older children regular, healthy foods. The provider will tell you about any changes you should make.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

Related Information

Spleen removal
Eating extra calories when sick - children
Surgical wound care - open

References

Brandow AM, Camitta BM. Hyposplenism, splenic trauma, and splenectomy. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 514.

Rescorla FJ, Vandewalle RJ. Splenic conditions. In: Holcomb GW, Murphy JP, St. Peter SD, eds. Holcomb and Ashcraft's Pediatric Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 47.

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Review Date: 1/11/2021  

Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery (Pediatrics), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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