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Am J Surg. 1996 Nov;172(5):596-9; discussion 599-601.

Comparative analysis of laparoscopic versus open splenectomy.

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Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.



Laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) has been used to treat a variety of splenic disorders. However, there have been few direct comparisons of this approach with open splenectomy (OS).


Results and outcomes were compared retrospectively in 46 consecutive patients treated by laparoscopic (n = 26) or open splenectomy (n = 20) from January 1990 through March 1996. The two groups were similar in age, sex, and American Society of Anesthesiology classification. Splenectomy was performed for a variety of indications, and the majority of patients in both groups had normal or near-normal size spleens. All data are expressed as mean +/- standard deviation.


Laparoscopic splenectomy was successfully completed in all 26 attempted cases. Operative times were significantly longer for LS (202 +/- 55 minutes) than for OS (134 +/- 43 minutes) (P < 0.001); however, operative times in the last 13 LS cases (176 +/- 48 minutes) averaged 51 minutes less than in the first 13 cases (227 +/- 51 minutes). Estimated operative blood loss was less for LS (222 +/- 280 mL) than for OS (376 +/- 500 mL) (P = not significant). A mean of 2.0 units of red blood cells was transfused in 4 (15%) of 26 patients during LS vs 1.0 unit transfused in 2 (10%) of 20 patients who had OS (P = NS). Patients who underwent LS required significantly less parenteral pain medications, had a more rapid return to regular diet, and were discharged sooner than patients who had OS. Complication rates were similar in the two groups.


These results suggest that LS is technically safe and has several advantages over OS. Laparoscopic splenectomy should become the procedure of choice for the removal of normal and near-normal size spleens.

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