Liver and Spleen Injuries: What to Do After Going Home from the Hospital

Recovering from a liver or spleen injury takes time. While your child's liver or spleen is healing, it is very important to make sure it is not injured again.

Another injury to the liver or spleen, even a minor one, can be very serious or even fatal. Re-injuring the liver or spleen could cause death or serious complications such as:

  • serious bleeding
  • longer recovery time
  • the need to go back to hospital

Until the liver or spleen is completely healed, your child needs to avoid activities that could cause another injury.

Your child should avoid activities that might re-injure the liver or spleen

While your child is recovering, he should avoid any physical activity that might cause another injury. Here is a list of the types of activities your child should avoid:

  • gym at school
  • individual or team sports including soccer, football, hockey, gymnastics, skiing, tobogganing, or snowboarding
  • bike or scooter riding
  • running or jogging
  • playing on playground equipment
  • roller coasters or bumper cars
  • activities that would make your child get out of breath or sweaty
  • activities that increase the risk of falling, body contact, getting tired, bumping into people or objects, or being hit in the stomach
  • hot tubs or saunas

If your child normally does activities that you are not sure about, check with your child's doctor.

Other things to remember

If there is a chance of injury during school recess, your child should stay indoors supervised by an adult. He should stay quiet during this time.

If your child is young, watch him carefully to make sure he does not fall.

Your child can walk or swim gently. Your child should not join in any "horseplay" or swimming that will tire him or put him at risk for body contact.

When to see the doctor

Go to the nearest emergency department right away if your child has any of the following:

  • stomach pain
  • shoulder pain
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • generally feeling unwell

You will need to take your child to see the doctor in the surgery clinic 6 to 8 weeks after discharge from the hospital. At that time, the doctor will tell you what activities your child can and cannot do.

Contact information

Your doctor's name:

Your doctor's telephone number:

Details of follow-up appointment:

Key points

  • After a liver or spleen injury, it is very important for your child not to re-injure him or herself.
  • Your child should avoid strenuous activity to reduce the risk of re-injury.
  • Ask your child's doctor what activities your child can and cannot do while the spleen or liver is healing.

Dorothy McDowall, RN, BScN, CNN(C)
Karen A. Lang, RN, MN, ACNP, APN
Monping Chiang, RN, BScN, MS, NP
Kimberly Colapinto, RN, BScN, MN, ACNP
Paul Wales, BSc, MD, MSc, FRCSC

11/10/2009
 




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