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Laparoscopic splenectomy: a selected retrospective review.

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Department of Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Previous investigators have suggested that laparoscopic splenectomy should be the procedure of choice for the treatment of benign hematologic disorders unresponsive to medical therapy. To evaluate the safety and utility of laparoscopic splenectomy for a variety of splenic disorders, we reviewed our collective experience at 2 institutions. We studied our 8-year experience by retrospective chart review. Patient demographic data, splenic pathology, intraoperative events, concomitant procedures, and all adverse perioperative events were recorded. A total of 131 patients had laparoscopic splenectomy, and there were 8 conversions to open surgery. Pathology included 63 with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), 23 malignancies, 12 thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), 10 autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), and 23 others. Accessory spleens were noted in 21 patients (16%). Concomitant surgical procedures included 12 hepatic biopsies, 4 distal pancreatectomies, 4 cholecystectomies, and 7 others. Mean operative time was 170 minutes. There were 16 major complications in 16 patients and 2 deaths. Median postoperative length of stay was 3 days. Conversions, due mostly to bleeding, are related to splenic pathology and medical comorbidity and are not temporally related to surgical experience (learning curve). The morbidity, mortality, and conversion rates were low. Laparoscopic splenectomy permits an appropriate abdominal exploration and is associated with a short hospital stay. It is the procedure of choice for most indications for splenectomy.

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