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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 belly, the spleen helps protect the body from infection. To remove your child’s unhealthy spleen, the healthcare provider made a large incision in your child’s belly. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your child at home following surgery.

Incision care

Recommendations for care of your child's incision include the following:

  • 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 healthcare provider 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 from your child’s incision. Let the strips fall off on their own.

Limit activity

Tips include the following:

  • 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 healthcare provider says it’s OK.

Other home care

Recommendations for home care of your child's incision include the following:

  • Give your child pain medicines as directed by the healthcare provider.

  • Have your child finish all of the antibiotics the healthcare provider 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(s) 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 healthcare 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 healthcare provider about vaccines. Your child will be more prone to infection after the surgery. Specifically, ask about pneumovax, meningococcal, haemophilus, and flu vaccines.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

 

When to call your child’s healthcare provider

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

  • Fever in infants and children 3 to 36 months of age: a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your pediatrician

  • Fever in older children: an oral temperature of 100.0°F (37.8°C) or higher, or as advised by your pediatrician

  • Shaking chills

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Any unusual bleeding

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

  • Incision site that opens up or pulls apart

  • Belly pain or vomiting

 

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