Splenectomy is effective in treating immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Recent advances in laparoscopic technique and technology have made laparoscopic splenectomy feasible. We performed it in 8 cases of ITP (16-34 years old, and 2-24 months after the diagnosis was made and appropriate treatment started). Indications for splenectomy were no response to corticosteroid therapy (2 patients), decrease in platelet count when attempting to taper off therapy (3), or severe side-effects of the treatment (3). 4-5 ports were used. The splenic artery was first double-clipped through an opening in the gastrocolic ligament and then the lower splenic pole and the posterolateral attachments were dissected using endoclips and electrocautery. The hilum and short gastric vessels were separated using an endostapler. The spleen was placed in a plastic bag whose open end was pulled out through an umbilical incision and the spleen fragmented and aspirated out of the bag, while it was still inside the abdomen. Blood or platelet transfusions were not needed and the postoperative course was uneventful in all, with early return to full normal activity. Postoperatively, platelets increased to more than 150,000/mm3 in all patients, and there was no further need for corticosteroids during a follow-up of 2-12 months. We recommend laparoscopic splenectomy for ITP because of the reduced operative trauma, better recovery and rehabilitation, less postoperative pain, cosmetic advantage, and possibly fewer postoperative complications.
|Published - 1 May 1995