What are the possible complications of splenectomy?

Possible complications include the usual risks of all surgeries, including infection. There is also a risk of pneumonia or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Immediately after the surgery, the patient is likely to be put on medications to prevent infection.

After having a splenectomy, the patient must always be extra careful about infections. The doctor is likely to have immunized the patient before surgery. Other likely recommendations include:

  • Have a pneumonia vaccine about every five years.
  • Have yearly flu shots.
  • A child who has had his or her spleen removed may be put on antibiotics for two to several years after the surgery, possibly until adulthood.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you have a fever or other indications of infection.
  • Avoid travel to places where you could contract malaria.

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