- BACKGROUND: In this study of laparoscopic splenectomy (LS), we evaluate prospectively gathered perioperative patient data and review lessons learned in the evolution of this procedure. METHODS: At 2 university medical centers between November 1993 and March 2000, there were 203 patients (122 female patients and 81 male patients) who underwent LS after preoperative evaluation. RESULTS: LS was successfully completed in 197 patients (97%). The mean operative time was 145.5 minutes and the length of stay averaged 2.7 days with 143 (70.4%) staying less than 48 hours. The most common indication was idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Six patients required conversion to open splenectomy (OS), with only 2 conversions in the last 163 cases. No deaths were attributed to the procedure. Complications occurred in 19 patients (9.3%). Thirty accessory spleens were identified in 25 patients (12.3%). Seventeen patients (8.4%) underwent concomitant procedures, most commonly cholecystectomy. CONCLUSIONS: LS by the lateral approach is both safe and feasible in patients of all ages.