What can I expect after I’ve had my spleen removed?

Once you are able to tolerate a regular diet, move about without difficulty and your pain is under control, you will be discharged home. This usually occurs within two to three days with the laparoscopic technique and five to seven days with an open incision.

You may take a shower or bath right away as your incisions will be closed with dissolving sutures and skin glue. You may drive when you are not requiring narcotic pain pills nor are having any distracting pain. Although each patient is unique, the hope is that you can return to your everyday activities quickly. You should then slowly increase your activities as tolerated. Indeed, this process is slower with the open approach. Young children who have had their spleen removed may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent serious infections.

Can I live without my spleen?

Yes, you can live without your spleen. Your liver will take over many of the functions of your spleen. As mentioned, you may be at increased risk of infection, though the likelihood is quite low. Still it is important to be vigilant and obtain immediate medical attention if you develop an illness with a high fever after your spleen has been removed.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/23/2020.

References

  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. Spleen Removal (Splenectomy). Accessed 9/21/2020.
  • Qureshi FG, Ergun O, Sandulache VC, et al. Laparoscopic Splenectomy in Children. JSLS : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. 2005;9(4):389-392. Accessed 9/21/2020.
  • Genetics Home Reference. Hereditary spherocytosis. Accessed 9/21/2020.
  • Yi S. Stat Pearls. Splenectomy. Accessed 9/21/2020.

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