Laparoscopic Splenectomy: Clinical Experience and the Role of Preoperative Splenic Artery Embolization

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We describe the clinical course of 12 patients who underwent laparoscopic splenectomy. Two patients were converted to open surgery—the first patient in the series because of a hemorrhagic incident and the eighth, who had a 34-cm spleen, because of dissection difficulties. The remaining patients had no mortality, and perioperative morbidity was 10%. After an average postoperative stay of 3.5 days (range, 2–9), most patients were able to resume normal activities ≤2 weeks. Use of preoperative splenic artery embolization was begun with the third patient. The technique involved embolization of the spleen with coils placed proximally; and contour emboli, absorbable gelatin sponge, and small coils placed distally, taking care to spare vessels to the tail of the pancreas. A good linear correlation was established between operative blood loss and the percentage of splenic devascularization by preoperative splenic artery embolization (r − 0.8084). Laparoscopic splenectomy is becoming the preferred technique for elective removal of a normal sized or moderately enlarged spleen (<20 cm long) when hematologic indications are present.

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