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J Gastrointest Surg. 2013 Apr;17(4):654-9. doi: 10.1007/s11605-013-2150-4. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Laparoscopic versus open splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization for bleeding varices or severe hypersplenism: a comparative study.

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  • 1Institute of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Gaotanyan Road 29#, Shapingba District, Chongqing 400038, China.



The safety and feasibility of laparoscopic splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization are still uncertain. The aim of this study was to compare our results for laparoscopic splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization with those for open splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization.


From January 2008 to December 2011, 153 patients were diagnosed with portal hypertension and serious gastroesophageal varices in our institute, among which, 107 patients also had repeated upper gastrointestinal bleeding and 85 had severe hypersplenism. Eighty patients chose laparoscopic splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization and 73 patients underwent the open procedure. Results and outcomes were compared retrospectively.


Nine patients underwent conversion to laparotomy in the laparoscopic group. We compared the laparoscopic group (80 patients) and the open group (73 patients). Operating times and the frequencies of blood transfusions were similar. Blood loss was less (P = 0.044), the passing of flatus was earlier (P = 0.041), and hospital stays were shorter (P = 0.028) in the laparoscopic group. Portal vein system thrombosis after laparoscopy was more frequent (P = 0.012) but the rates of main trunk occlusion were similar between the two groups. Pleural effusion after laparoscopy was less (P = 0.021) and, apart from this, there was no difference in other morbidities between the two groups. During a postoperative follow-up period of 2 to 50 months in 80 patients of the laparoscopic group vs. 73 patients of the open group, the incidence of esophagogastric variceal rebleeding, encephalopathy, and secondary liver cancer showed no significant differences. And the mortality rates for each of the groups were not different.


The short-term effects of laparoscopic splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization were better than those for open surgery, and the medium-term effects were similar between these two surgical approaches. Prospective randomized studies with a greater number of cases are needed to confirm the role of laparoscopy in splenectomy and esophagogastric devascularization.

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