Although your spleen is a vital part of your immune system, sometimes doctors must remove it. Most often, this occurs when the spleen ruptures after an abdominal injury, but it's also necessary as a treatment for certain cancers, blood disorders or infections. While this procedure will not require you to change your diet much, it might be an impetus to improve your overall diet and in turn, your overall health.
Your spleen is one of your body's filters, helping your body remove damaged cells from the blood and fight infections. When it's removed, other organs will pick up most of its duties, so you can lead a largely normal life. Your biggest risk will be an increased susceptibility to infection, though you can mitigate this through precautions such as annual flu shots. Remaining vigilant for signs of infection should be your primary focus, though as always, maintaining a good diet will help keep you healthy overall.
Whether your spleen is removed through open surgery or the less-invasive laparoscopic method, you'll be on a liquid diet, fed through intravenous fluids. Generally, within a few days, your basic bodily functions will return, and you will be able to return home and resume a normal diet. Commonly, you will experience constipation after the surgery, so you might want to increase your fiber intake to combat this. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains foods such as pasta and breads, nuts and legumes. Additionally, if you are on special diets because of conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you should continue on those.
While you will not find specific diets tailored for people without spleens, you can take dietary steps to improve your immune system, reducing your risk of infection. The Cleveland Clinic recommends boosting your immune system by cutting back on red meats, high-fat diary products and fats while eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are high in antioxidants, which help remove oxidants from the blood and protect you from disease. You also should eat more salmon and other fatty fish high in omega-3 acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
As you watch your diet, you also should watch for signs of infections and complications, particularly in the period immediately following your surgery. If you find you are unable to eat or drink at all, or cannot do so without nausea or vomiting, you should call your doctor. Additionally, you should seek medical attention if you experience fever, bleeding, a persistent cough or swelling or pus around the area of our incision. If you take multivitamins or any other supplements as a part of your diet, ask your doctor whether you should continue taking them.