August 1997

Is Pediatric Laparoscopic Splenectomy Safe and Cost-effective?

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(8):822-824. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430320024003

Objective:  To determine whether laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) is a safe, cost-effective alternative to open splenectomy (OS).

Design:  Retrospective comparison and economic evaluation.

Setting:  Tertiary care children's hospital. Patients: Children with hematologic disease involving the spleen.

Interventions:  Laparoscopic splenectomy (10 patients); OS (10 patients).

Main Outcome Measures:  Safety of LS and cost differential between LS and OS.

Results:  Operative time was longer for LS. Discharge occurred 64 hours postoperatively for LS and 79 hours for OS (P<.03). Patients who underwent LS returned to activity 1 to 5 weeks faster than patients who underwent OS. The average (±SD) operative charges for LS was $7176±$2064 and for OS, $1977±$344 (P<.001). Total hospital charges averaged $13 033±$2976 for LS and $7106±$1923 for OS (P<.001).

Conclusions:  Laparoscopic splenectomy can be performed safely in children. In our hospital, LS is more expensive than OS. The faster return to school and normal activity warrants the continued use of this procedure despite the increased cost.Arch Surg. 1997;132:822-824