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What precautions should be taken after spleen removal?

Answered by: Dr. N. Ananthakrishnan
Head of Department of Surgery,
JIPMER,
Pondicherry

Q. My father has undergone splenectomy (spleen removal) surgery 10 days back. At first, his body had too many blood spots and he went for treatment. Then he had a lack of platelets which was less than 20,000. Then he was given steroid treatment and he was alright for 2-3 weeks. Then the bleeding happened again. Then he was treated for another treatment which also not worked. Finally the doctor decided splenectomy and now his spleen is removed. Does he require antibiotics for a lifelong. What are the precautions he has to take now?

A.  From the history you have mentioned, it appears that your father had a splenectomy for a condition called Idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura in which the spleen destroys the platelets which are responsible for blood coagulation. Although there is a definite risk of infection following splenectomy, at his age, the risk is low. I do not think he requires life long antibiotics or vaccines to prevent infection. These are administered to children whose spleen has been removed. There are very few other significant complications after splenectomy other than the risk of infection.

A.  From the history you have mentioned, it appears that your father had a splenectomy for a condition called Idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura in which the spleen destroys the platelets which are responsible for blood coagulation. Although there is a definite risk of infection following splenectomy, at his age, the risk is low. I do not think he requires life long antibiotics or vaccines to prevent infection. These are administered to children whose spleen has been removed. There are very few other significant complications after splenectomy other than the risk of infection.

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