Discharge Instructions for Open Splenectomy (Pediatric)

Discharge Instructions for Open Splenectomy (Pediatric)

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Discharge Instructions for Open Splenectomy (Pediatric)

Your child had an open splenectomy. During the procedure, your child’s spleen was surgically removed because it wasn’t working properly. Located in the upper left portion of the abdomen, the spleen helps protect the body from infection. To remove your child’s unhealthy spleen, the doctor made a large incision in your child’s abdomen. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your child at home following surgery.

Incision Care

  • Check your child’s incisions daily for redness, swelling, or separation of the skin.

  • Allow your child to shower as needed. But do not allow him or her to swim or sit in a bathtub or hot tub until the doctor says it’s OK to do so. This helps prevent infection of the incision site.

  • Keep your child’s incision clean and dry. Wash the incision gently with mild soap and warm water. Then gently pat the incision dry with a towel.

  • Do not remove the white strips (Steri-Strips) from your child’s incision. Let the strips fall off on their own.

Limit Activity

  • Show your child how to climb steps slowly and stop to rest every few steps. Limit stair climbing to once or twice a day.

  • Don’t allow your child to lift anything heavier than 3 pounds to avoid straining the incisions.

  • Give your child a break from chores that involve physical effort, such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn, until the doctor says it’s OK.

Other Home Care

  • Give your child pain medications as directed by the doctor.

  • Have your child finish all of the antibiotics the doctor prescribed, even if he or she feels better. Antibiotics help protect your child from infection.

  • Check your child’s temperature every day for 1 week after the surgery.

  • Get medical attention even for mild illnesses such as colds or sinus problems. It’s important to do this because without a spleen, your child is more prone to infection.

  • Be sure to tell all of your child’s health care providers — including the dentist — that your child does not have a spleen.

  • Consider getting a medical identification bracelet for your child that says he or she does not have a spleen.

  • Talk to your doctor about vaccines. Your child will be more prone to infection after the surgery. Specifically, ask about pneumovax, meningococcal, haemophilus, and flu vaccines.


When to Call Your Child’s Doctor

Call the doctor right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or shaking chills

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Any unusual bleeding or drainage from the wound 

  • Redness, swelling, warmth, or pain at the incision site

  • Incision site that opens up or pulls apart