Laparoscopic Versus Open Splenectomy for Hypersplenism Secondary to Liver Cirrhosis

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Abstract

Background

Since the first laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) in 1991, LS has become the gold standard for the removal of normal-to-moderately enlarged spleens in benign conditions. Compared with open splenectomy (OS), fewer postsurgical complications and better postoperative recovery were observed, but it is contraindicated for hypersplenism secondary to liver cirrhosis owing to technical difficulties associated with splenomegaly, well-developed collateral circulation, and increased risk of bleeding. With the improvements of laparoscopic technique, the concept is changing.

Methods

OS and LS performed for hypersplenism secondary to liver cirrhosis at our institution were analyzed. Relationships between postoperative increases in platelet counts, white blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and liver function were examined. Perioperative data of LSs were compared with those of OSs, including operative time, blood loss, excised spleen weight, complications, and hospital stays.

Results

A total of 216 splenectomies (135 OS and 81 LS) were performed from April 1999 to March 2007. Five laparoscopic cases were converted to open surgery owing to operative bleeding or bleeding of splenic fossa. The other 76 patients were performed LSs successfully. No major operative complications occurred. There was no operative death. Excised spleen weight >400 g was present in 56% of cases in this series. At 7 days postoperatively, the platelet counts, white blood cell counts, and hemoglobin significantly increased after open and laparoscopic surgeries, and increase of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin, and directed bilirubin of LS were significantly different with open cases. Operation times of LS and OS were 2.9±0.7 hours and 2.6±0.6 hours, respectively. Blood losses were 150.6±135.4 mL and 633.8±340.3 mL (P<0.01), excised spleen weights were 585.7±184.6 g and 591.1±153.4 g (P>0.05), and hospital stay were 8.2±2.0 days and 11.9±3.8 days (P<0.01). Operative associated complications were noted in both LS and OS. Less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, and less impairment of liver function were observed in LS than OS.

Conclusions

LS is feasible, effective, and safe procedures for hypersplenism secondary to liver cirrhosis and contributes to less impairment of liver function, less blood loss, and shorter hospital stay.

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