Dismiss Modal

Splenectomy: What to Expect


Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s medications/vitamins/herbs. Some may need to be discontinued a week prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that could impact surgery or anesthesia.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Blood are samples taken in case your child needs a blood transfusion.

Day of the Surgery

  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Only give your child medications that the surgeon has recommended with a small sip of water.
  • You will receive a call from the hospital about arrival time.

After Surgery

Your child will remain in the hospital for one to two days following the procedure.

  • A dressing will cover your child's surgical site for the next few days, and it must be kept dry. Only allow your child a sponge bath.
  • There will be soreness around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your child’s energy level.
  • This surgery involves a quick recovery time with most patients feeling much better within the first few days after surgery.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

Most children will be fully recovered in one to two weeks and can resume some normal activities.

Question & Answer

Below, find answers to commonly asked questions. Click each item to expand the Q&A for each section.

The Procedure

Q: What does laparoscopic splenectomy involve.

Your child will be completely asleep using a general anesthesia. To perform a splenectomy, the pediatric surgeon inserts a laparoscope through a tiny incision in the belly. The laparoscope is equipped with a light and camera which allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen. Two or three additional small cuts will be made around the site to pump gas inside the region and pass instruments for the removal. Gas expands the belly, giving the pediatric surgeon a clear view and added space.

Children who have their spleen removed through minimally invasive surgery recover more quickly and have a reduced hospitalization.


Q: How many incisions are made?

Three to four tiny incisions are made in the left side of the upper abdomen.

Hospital Stay

Q: How long will my child stay in the hospital?

Children will normally stay one to two days in the hospital.

Recovery Time

Q: What is the recovery time?

Most children feel better within the first week. It takes four to six weeks for a full recovery. After the spleen is removed, your child’s doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.