Objective: To assess the results of laparoscopic splenectomy as a treatment for immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Material and Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all patients who underwent laparoscopic splenectomy for ITP at our institution between August 1992 and May 1997. Results: Of 27 patients who underwent attempted laparoscopic splenectomy for ITP at our institution during the study period, 26 had completion of the procedure without conversion to an open splenectomy. The median postoperative hospital stay was 1.5 days, and no postoperative deaths occurred. In one patient, pancreatitis developed postoperatively. In four patients, splenectomy failed - two initially and two subsequently - and reinstitution of medical therapy was necessary. The other patients have remained free of medication, and 19 patients have platelet counts greater than 100 x 109/L. The 3-year actuarial success rate was 81.5%. Response to corticosteroid therapy preoperatively may be an indicator of success of splenectomy. Conclusion: Laparoscopic splenectomy is safe and allows prompt recovery. Long-term response rates are similar to those achieved with open splenectomy.
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