Recovering after splenectomy surgery varies widely from patient to patient, largely because there are vastly different reasons for having a splenectomy. Regardless of the reason for your surgery, when you wake up from your surgery, you will feel some pain on your left side in the area of your stomach. You will also have a tube, called a nasogastric tube (NG), which goes in your nose, down your esophagus and into your stomach. This tube prevents the build up of stomach acid, minimizing nausea and vomiting after your procedure. The tube is usually removed a day or two after surgery.
The average patient is able to go home from the hospital 48 to 72 hours after surgery if the splenectomy was performed laparoscopically. An open procedure may require a longer stay, often up to a week, before being discharged. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. However, a patient who requires a splenectomy after the spleen was traumatized may be hospitalized longer based on any additional injuries that may be present. In some cases, the damage to the spleen may be the most minor of the injuries.
The spleen is prone to bleeding when injured so you may require a blood transfusion after the procedure. This will depend upon the amount of blood lost before, during and after the procedure and is only done as needed. Without the transfusion, a patient who has experienced bleeding may feel weak or even lightheaded, due to the loss of blood.
It is extremely important that you are diligent about your incision care, as your wound can easily become infected after this surgery. Your incisions should be inspected for signs of infection on a daily basis or more often.