About the Spleen
The spleen is an organ in your abdomen. It
is often injured in accidents, but may need to
be removed for many reasons. Your spleen
works as a filter for your blood. It is a vital
part of your immune system. If your spleen
has severe damage, it may be harmful to
your health. A spleen that is injured can
bleed into the abdomen. This may cause
life-threatening blood loss or infection. It
may also cause damage to your pancreas.
The Day before Surgery you may need to
take a laxative to prepare for surgery. We
will discuss the details with you.
As you and the health care team feel
comfortable, you will be allowed to eat.
You may start slowly with clear liquids
(items like juice, jello, broth, popsicles, etc),
but will be able to eat real food in a few
When you start eating, go slowly and only
eat what feels and tastes good. If you begin
to feel sick to your stomach or full, you
should stop eating. A member from the
health care team will let you know when
your diet has been changed.
Expect pain after surgery. Your pain pills
will help manage the pain. If you had
laparoscopic surgery, you may have pain in
your neck and shoulders from the gas in
your abdomen during surgery. Walking may
help to decrease this pain.
Keep your incisions dry for 48 hours
(2 days). You may shower when
your surgical team says it ok
(typically 3-5 days).
Small areas of bruising at your
incision sites are common.
Check your wounds daily and report
problems such as:
Increased redness, swelling or
Drainage such as blood or pus
Temperature over 100.4 θ F by
mouth for two readings taken 4
Walking is good exercise for you
after surgery. Do not do any other
exercising until after talking with
No driving while taking narcotic pain
You will have a limit on how much
you can lift; we will discuss the
details with you.
Check with your doctor before you
return to work.
Sex may be resumed when you feel
Avoid all tobacco including second
Having your spleen removed does not make
it more likely that you’ll get the flu,
common cold, or other viral infections. Yet,
having your spleen removed may increase
the changes of serious illness or even death
if you get certain types of infections.
Although the changes that this will occur are
small, if it does happen it can be very
There are several recommended vaccines to
get before surgery or before you leave the
hospital. The recommended vaccines to
prevent future infections are listed below.
Some of these vaccines have booster doses
that are due after the initial doses. You
should see your doctor approximately 2
months after leaving the hospital to get your
booster doses of the required vaccines.
polysaccharide 23 valent)
conjugate 13 valent)
Menveo® (meningococcal group A
conjugate with serogroup A, C, Y,
Boxsero® (meningococcal group B
Haemophilus Type B vaccine
The annual flu (influenza) shot
Other Steps to Prevent Infection
You will need to carry a supply of
antibiotics with you, when you travel
to places that may not have quick
access to health care. Consult with
your primary care doctor on this.
If you are traveling to a place where
you will be exposed to malaria, you
will always need to take medicine to
Avoid bites and scratches from dogs
or cats. Protect yourself from getting
tick bites. The microorganisms that
dogs, cats, and ticks carry can
sometimes cause a serious infection
after a splenectomy. See a doctor if
a dog, cat, or tick bites you.
You are advised to wear a Medic
Alert bracelet or necklace and carry a
wallet card stating you have no
spleen. Inform all new healthcare
professionals, including dentists that
your spleen was removed.
ξ MedicAlert Foundation
2323 Colorado Ave. / Turlock,
When to Call the Doctor
1. You Should Seek Medical
Attention Right Away if you have a
temperature of 100.4ºF or greater for
two readings taken 4 hours apart.
Also, seek immediate care if you
have flu-like symptoms such as
chills, rigors (a violent attach of
uncontrollable shivering) and/or
Cough or shortness of breath
Problems eating or drinking
Increased swelling of the
Nausea or vomiting that does not
Increased redness, pain, bleeding
or pus at the incisions
Pain not controlled by pain pills
If you have not had a bowel
movement 3 days after surgery,
you may need a laxative.
Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-7502. This is a
24 hour number.
After hours, weekends and holidays ask
for the doctor on call for
Leave your name and phone number with
the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free: 1 800-323-8942
Note to staff: please give Health Facts for You #4560, Medications & Immunization, with this
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#4313.