Splenectomy & Diet

The spleen is an organ just beneath the ribs behind your stomach. It serves many important functions involving red blood cells and immunity. The organ may need to be removed from the body due to an accident or various disorders or conditions. After surgery, you will need to follow certain nutrition guidelines to promote health and recovery. Talk with your doctor and registered dietitian for the best lifestyle and nutrition advice after your splenectomy.


A splenectomy is a medical technique used to remove the spleen by several incisions. The two main types of spleen surgery performed by doctors are open splenectomy and laparoscopic splenectomy, according to MayoClinic.com 1. Both types of spleen surgery are performed using general anesthesia and involve several incisions in the body. After surgery, your doctor may require you to follow a special diet and refrain from any physical activity.

Clear Liquid Diet

A clear liquid diet includes any colorless or clear food and beverage. A clear liquid diet is typically recommended by a doctor immediately following spleen surgery, says the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 2. A clear liquid diet is typically prescribed by doctors after surgery to support nutrition and energy for patients when they are unable to tolerate regular foods. Patients may also consume beverages such as water, soft drinks, tea and coffee.

Diet Progression

A clear liquid diet is not an adequate source of calories and essential nutrients. It should not be used for more than five days unless under the supervision of a health-care provider. Eventually, regular foods may be consumed again in your diet as tolerated. Most patients are able to resume a regular diet after the second postoperative day. However, consult a registered dietitian for a full list of acceptable foods for your condition.


You can continue to live a healthy and active life without a spleen. Since food tolerances may vary from person to person, you should keep a food journal to record your daily food intake. A registered dietitian can help determine any possible problem-causing foods to avoid following surgery. Your doctor may recommend staying home from work or school for at least one week following spleen surgery. MayoClinic.com says that most individuals fully recovery from a splenectomy after four to six weeks 1.