Open Splenectomy

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Medication

  • Take whatever pain medicine your surgeon prescribes. Follow the directions carefully. Do not take over-the-counter pain medicines unless the surgeon says it is okay. Some pain medicine can cause bleeding problems for several weeks after the procedure.

  • Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicine. These are very strong drugs. They can make you sleepy. They can affect your reaction time.

  • You may need to take a stool softener or a laxative. The aim is to prevent constipation.

Wound Care

  • Check the area around your surgical cut (incision) often. Look for any redness or swelling. Also check if blood or fluid is leaking from the incision.

  • Do not use anything to clean the area around your incision except soap and water, when allowed.

  • You will need to go back to have the stitches or staples taken out. Ask your surgeon when you need to return.

  • Keep the wound area dry for as long as directed by your surgeon.

Diet

  • Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • You can go back to eating your normal foods once you are home.

Activity

  • You can probably go back to your normal routine after a few days. Do not do anything that requires extra effort until your surgeon says it is okay. This may not be for about 4 weeks.

  • Walk as much as possible.

  • Continue to practice deep breathing and coughing. If it hurts to cough, try holding a pillow against your abdomen while you cough.

  • For 4 weeks, do not lift anything that weighs more than 30 pounds.

  • Ask your surgeon when it is safe to drive, have sex, or go back to work.

Some infections are more dangerous when you do not have a spleen. Because of this:

  • Always let your caregiver know right away if you see any signs of infection. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics.

  • Always tell your caregivers that you do not have a spleen before you have any procedures. This includes medical and dental procedures.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have any questions about medicines.

  • Your pain continues, even after taking pain medicine.

  • You notice a bad smell or milky fluid coming from the incision.

  • You have nausea or vomiting.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your pain gets much worse.

  • Your incision is red, swollen, or blood or fluid is leaking from the incision.

  • Your legs are red, swollen, or painful.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You suddenly feel very weak or dizzy.

  • You have a fever.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.