BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic splenectomy has been demonstrated to be technically feasible and safe for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), hereditary spherocytosis, and Hodgkin's disease. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study comprised 76 consecutive patients with chronic ITP who were admitted to our hospital from 1968 to 1997 and underwent splenectomy; 35 patients underwent a laparoscopic splenectomy, and 41 had open surgery. RESULTS: Laparoscopic splenectomy involved minimal incision, and a significantly lower frequency of analgesia was required for postoperative abdominal pain (1.4 versus 3.3); postoperative hospital stay was shorter (9.6 versus 20.1 days, P <0.05). Operative time was significantly longer for the laparoscopic surgery (204.5 versus 99.8 minutes, P <0.01), but blood loss was less (154.4 versus 511.7 g, P <0.01). During the present study (range 3.8 to 80 months), accumulative nonrecurrence rate was 67.9% in 5 years after surgery, which is similar to that of the previous open splenectomy. CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic splenectomy can become an alternative therapeutic modality in the treatment of ITP.
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