Splenectomy after Trauma
About the Spleen
The spleen is an organ in your abdomen. It is often injured in accidents. 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.
Treatment after Spleen Injury
If the damage to your spleen is minimal, your health care team will monitor bleeding through
serial abdominal exams and monitoring your blood counts and vital signs often.
If the damage to your spleen is severe, your doctor may decide that it is best to remove it.
Although your spleen is a major part of your immune system, you can live without it. If your
spleen needs to be removed, you will need to be careful with infections in the future. Infections
for a person with no spleen can be very serious. Sometimes, they may even be fatal. Although
the chance this may happen is very small, you need to take proper care.
The spleen protects against certain types of organisms. If you have your spleen removed, you
will need to get vaccines to protect yourself. These vaccines include:
Pneumococcal vaccine: You will get this vaccine before you leave the hospital. (You
may need to get an additional pneumococcal in 8 weeks and then repeat this vaccine
every five years. – talk to your PCP about need for vaccine at 8 weeks.)
Haemophilus B vaccine: You will get this vaccine before you leave the hospital, then
you are done.
Meningococcal vaccine (Menactra): You will get this vaccine before you leave the
hospital. You will also need to get another Menactra in 2 months after your first dose. It
needs to be repeated every 5 years.
Meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero): You will get this vaccine before you leave the
hospital. You will need to get an additional Bexsero in 2 months after your first dose,
then you are done.
Influenza (flu) vaccine: You will get this vaccine before you leave the hospital, if you
haven’t already had it for the year. You will need to get this vaccine every year.
Other Steps to Prevent Infection
You will need to carry a supply of antibiotics with you, mainly when you travel to places
that may not have quick access to health care. Consult with your primary care doctor on
If you are traveling to a place where you will be exposed to malaria, you will always
need to take medicine to prevent malaria.
Special care should also be taken to prevent animal or tick bites. If you do get bitten, you
will need to see a doctor.
You Should Seek Medical Attention RIGHT AWAY if
You have a temperature of 100.4°F or higher for two readings taken 4 hours apart.
You have a severe sore throat, unexplained cough or severe abdominal pain.
You have flu-like symptoms such as chills, uncontrollable shivering, or body aches.
We suggest that you wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace and carry a wallet card stating that
you have no spleen.
MedicAlert Foundation International
2323 Colorado Ave, Turlock, CA 95382
Tell any new health care professionals, including dentists, that your spleen was removed.
Once your spleen is removed, you will always need to follow these steps to protect yourself.
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 © 11/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6893