Banner image

Spleen removal - child - discharge

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


Learn More


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:

  • The type of surgery (open or laparoscopic)
  • Your child's age
  • The reason for the operation

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.


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.

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.

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:

  • Risk of infection is highest in the first 2 years after surgery, or until your child is 5 or 6 years old.
  • Always tell your child's doctor if your child has a fever, sore throat, headache, belly pain, or diarrhea, or an injury that breaks the skin. Most of the time, problems like these will not be serious. But, sometimes they can lead to major infections.

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:

  • Teach your child to wash his or her hands often with soap and water. Family members should do the same.
  • Get your child treated for any bites, especially dog bites, right away.
  • Let your child's doctor know if your child will be traveling out of the country. Your child may need to carry extra antibiotics, take precautions against malaria, and make sure immunizations are up to date.
  • Tell all of your child's health care providers (dentist, doctors, nurses, or nurse practitioners) that your child does not have a spleen.
  • Ask your child's provider about a special bracelet for your child to wear that says your child does not have a spleen.

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:

  • Pain around the incisions for a few days.
  • Sore throat from the breathing tube. Sucking on ice chips or gargling (if your child is old enough to do these things) can help soothe the throat.
  • Bruising, skin redness, or pain around the cut, or cuts.
  • Problems taking deep breaths.

If your child's spleen was removed for a blood disorder or lymphoma, your child may need more treatment depending on the disorder.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your child's temperature is 101°F (38.3°C) or higher.
  • The surgical wounds are bleeding, are red or warm to the touch, or have a thick, yellow, green, or milky drainage.
  • Your child has pain that is not helped by pain medicines.
  • It is hard for your child to breathe.
  • Your child has a cough that does not go away.
  • Your child cannot drink or eat.
  • Your child is not as energetic as usual, is not eating, and looks ill.

When Your Child Was in the Hospital

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

  • If your child had open surgery, the surgeon made an incision (cut) in your child's belly.
  • If your child had laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon made 3 to 4 small cuts in your child's belly.

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:

  • Cover the incision with plastic wrap before showering for the first week.
  • DO NOT try to wash off the tape or glue. They will fall off in about a week.

Your child should not soak in a bathtub or hot tub or go swimming until your doctor says it is OK.

Review Date: 2/6/2017
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.

ADAM QualityA.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.