During the past 10 years, expertise with minimally invasive techniques has grown, leading to an increase in successful laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) even in the setting of massive and supramassive spleens.
Retrospective series of patients who underwent splenectomy from November 1, 1995, to August 31, 2005.
Academic tertiary care center.
Adult patients who underwent elective splenectomy as their primary procedure (n = 111).
Main Outcome Measures
Demographics, spleen size and weight, conversion from LS to open splenectomy, postoperative length of stay, and perioperative complications and mortality. Massive splenomegaly was defined as the spleen having a craniocaudal length greater than 17 cm or weight more than 600 g, and supramassive splenomegaly was defined as the spleen having a craniocaudal length greater than 22 cm or weight more than 1600 g.
Eighty-five (77%) of the 111 patients underwent LS. Of these 85 patients, 25 (29%) had massive or supramassive spleens. These accounted for 40% of LSs performed in 2004 and 50% in 2005. Despite this increase in giant spleens, the conversion rate for massive or supramassive spleens has declined from 33% prior to 1999 to 0% in 2004 and 2005. Since January 2004 at our institution, all of the massive or supramassive spleens have been removed with a laparoscopic approach. Patients with massive or supramassive spleens who underwent LS had no reoperations for bleeding or deaths and had a significantly shorter postoperative length of stay (mean postoperative length of stay, 3.8 days for patients who underwent LS vs 9.0 days for patients who underwent open splenectomy; P<.001).
Despite conflicting reports regarding the safety of LS for massive splenomegaly, our data indicate that with increasing institutional experience, the laparoscopic approach is safe, shortens the length of stay, and improves mortality.