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Ann Surg. 1996 Jul;224(1):19-28.

Laparoscopic splenectomy in patients with hematologic diseases.

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Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.



The authors review their initial experience with laparoscopic splenectomy in patients with hematologic diseases. Efficacy, morbidity, and mortality of the technique are presented, and other patient recovery parameters are discussed.


Laparoscopic splenectomy is performed infrequently and data regarding its safety and efficacy are scarce. Factors such as a high level of technical difficulty, the potential for sudden, severe hemorrhage, and slow accrual of operative experience due to a relatively limited number of procedures are responsible. The potential patient benefits from the development of a minimally invasive form of splenectomy are significant.


Clinical follow-up, a prospective longitudinal database, and review of medical records were analyzed for all patients referred for elective splenectomy for hematologic disease from March 1992 to March 1995.


Laparoscopic splenectomy was attempted in 43 patients and successfully completed in 35 (81%). Therapeutic platelet response to splenectomy occurred in 82% of patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura and hematocrit level increased in 60% of patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia undergoing successful laparoscopic splenectomy. The morbidity rate was 11.6% (5 of 43 patients), and the mortality rate was 4.7% (2 of 43 patients). Return of gastrointestinal function occurred in patients 23.1 hours after laparoscopic splenectomy and 76 hours after conversion to open splenectomy (p < 0.05). Mean length of stay was 2.7 days after laparoscopic splenectomy and 6.8 days after conversion to open splenectomy (p < 0.05).


Laparoscopic splenectomy may be performed with efficacy, morbidity, and mortality rates comparable to those of open splenectomy for hematologic diseases, and it appears to retain other patient benefits of laparoscopic surgery.

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