Pediatric laparoscopic splenectomy using the lateral approach
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Laparoscopic splenectomy in children has been shown to be safe, to reduce postoperative pain and hospital stay, and to accelerate return to full activities. We describe our experience with a four-port "lateral" approach in 18 patients. Patients were placed in the lateral decubitus position and the table was flexed to separate the left subcostal margin and iliac crest. The camera port was inserted at the umbilicus and additional ports were placed in the epigastrium and left lower quadrant. After mobilization of the splenic flexure a port was inserted in the left flank below the 12th rib for elevation of the spleen. A 30 degrees laparoscope was used and the splenic vessels were controlled with an endo-GIA and/or clips. The spleens were placed in a bag, morcellated, and extracted through a port site. Eight females and 10 males with a median age of 12.5 years (5-17 years) and weight of 55.5 kg (17-124 kg) underwent splenectomy of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpora (10), spherocytosis (6), elliptocytosis (1), and Hodgkin's disease (1). The median operating time was 160 min (90-300 min) and median blood loss was 105 ml (5-350 ml). Accessory spleens were removed in four cases. Three patients required extensions of a port site to remove large spleens which could not be placed in a bag. The sole complication was a transient pancreatitis with associated pleural effusion. The median postoperative hospital stay was 2 days (1-11 days) and time to full activities was 8 days (3-25 days). The lateral approach affords excellent visualization of the splenic vessels, pancreas, and accessory spleens. This approach is safe and reliable and is our preferred approach for laparoscopic splenectomy in children.
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