To determine the optimal surgical management of splenic injury encountered during colectomy.
Retrospective review from 1992 to 2007.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a tertiary care center.
A cohort of patients who sustained splenic injury during colectomy from 1992 to 2007.
Main Outcome Measures
Overall 30-day major morbidity and mortality and overall 5-year survival.
Of 13 897 colectomies, we identified 59 splenic injuries (0.42%). Of these, 33 (56%) were in men; there was a median age of 68 years (range, 30-93 years) and a median body mass index of 25.5 (range, 15-54). Thirty-seven injuries (63%) occurred during elective surgery, 6 (10%) occurred without splenic flexure mobilization, and 5 (8.4%) occurred during minimally invasive surgery. Injury was successfully managed by primary repair in 10 (17%), splenorrhaphy in 4 (7%), and splenectomy in 45 cases (76%). Four injuries (7%) were unrecognized and resulted in reoperation and splenectomy. Multiple attempts at splenic salvage were performed in 30 (51%); of these, 21 (70%) required splenectomy. More than 2 attempts at salvage was associated with splenectomy (P = .03). The 30-day major morbidity and mortality rates were 34% and 17%, respectively. Sepsis was the most common complication, with no confirmed episodes of postsplenectomy sepsis. Median survival after splenic injury was 7.25 years. There was no significant association between the surgical management of splenic injuries and short- or long-term outcomes.
Splenic injury is an infrequent but morbid complication. Splenic salvage is frequently unsuccessful; our data suggest that surgeons should not be reluctant to perform splenectomy when initial repair attempts fail.