Laparoscopic Splenectomy Versus Open Splenectomy In Massive and Giant Spleens: Should we Update the 2008 EAES Guidelines?

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The objective of this study was to derive some useful parameters to define the feasibility of laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) in massive [spleen longitudinal diameter (SLD)>20 cm] and giant spleens (SLD>25 cm). Between December 1996 and May 2017, 175 patients underwent an elective splenectomy. A laparoscopic approach was used in 133 (76%) patients. Massive spleens were treated in 65 (37.1%) patients, of which 24 were treated laparoscopically. In this subset of massive spleens, the results of laparoscopic splenectomy in massive spleens (LSM) and open splenectomy in massive spleens (OSM) were compared. The clinical outcome of a subgroup of patients with giant spleens was also analyzed. The LSM group resulted in significant longer operative times (143±31 vs. 112±40 min; P=0.001), less blood loss (278±302 vs. 575±583 mL; P=0.007), and shorter hospital stay (6±3 vs. 9±4 d; P=0.004). No conversions were experienced in the LSM group, and the morbidity rate was similar in both the LSM and OSM groups (16.6% vs. 20%; P=0.75). When considering the subset of 9 LSM patients and 26 OSM patients with giant spleens, the same favorable tendency of the laparoscopic group as regards surgical conversion, blood loss, and hospital stay was maintained. The laparoscopic approach can be successfully proposed in the presence of massive splenomegaly also after a careful preoperative evaluation of the expected abdominal “working space.” In experienced hands, LS is safe, feasible, and associated with better outcomes than open splenectomy for the treatment of massive and giant spleen, with a maximum SLD limit of 31 cm.

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