Hypothesis Hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) is a safe therapeutic approach to remove megaspleens of any size. Conventional laparoscopic splenectomy for splenomegaly is difficult because of limited exposure and complex vascular control, with increased risk of intraoperative bleeding and conversion to open surgery. HALS can overcome some of these limitations, reducing the risk of conversion to open surgery and resulting in a postoperative course similar to that of conventional laparoscopy.
Design Single-institution single-surgeon retrospective review.
Setting University hospital.
Patients An analysis was performed of all patients with splenomegaly (splenic weight, >700 g) seen during a 10-year period.
Main Outcome Measures Preoperative data, indications for splenectomy, splenic weight, operative variables, clinical outcome, and rates of conversion to open surgery, complications, and operative mortality were compared between patients undergoing HALS vs conventional laparoscopy.
Results Splenomegaly was present in 85 patients, of whom 43 underwent HALS splenectomy and 42 underwent conventional laparoscopic splenectomy. The HALS group had larger spleens. Rates of conversion to open surgery and operative mortality were similar in the HALS group vs the conventional laparoscopy group (2.3% [1 of 43] vs 2.4% [1 of 42] and 2.3% [1 of 43] vs 0.0% [0 of 42], respectively), with no difference in hospital length of stay in the absence of morbidity. Portal system thrombosis was the most serious complication.
Conclusions HALS can minimize surgical trauma in patients with massive splenomegaly who otherwise would be candidates only for open surgery and results in a clinical outcome similar to that of conventional laparoscopy. With the availability of HALS, any patient with splenomegaly can be offered a minimally invasive surgical option. Portal system thrombosis is common, regardless of the surgical technique.