Laparoscopic splenectomy was attempted in 16 patients and was performed successfully in 13 (81%) patients with the diagnosis of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), AIDS-related thrombocytopenia, Hodgkin's disease, or lymphoma. The operative time averaged 157 min, and autologous transfusion was required in four patients. The postsurgical stay averaged 3 days in patients with completely laparoscopic splenectomies and 4 days in patients whose spleens were removed through small counterincisions. No major complications secondary to the procedure itself occurred postoperatively. Conversion to open operation was necessary in three (19%) patients because of bleeding or splenomegaly. With careful selection of patients and mastery of the technique, laparoscopic splenectomy can be safely performed on normal or slightly enlarged spleens. The advantages are less pain, shorter hospitalization, and reduced disability as compared to “open” splenectomy.