Background The management of nonparasitic splenic cysts in children is unclear. Options include observation, cystectomy, partial or total splenectomy and percutaneous aspiration with and without sclerotherapy. The aim of this study is to assess the outcomes of these interventions at a children's hospital. Materials and methods A retrospective review of patients aged <18 y with splenic cysts over 7 y was performed. Demographics, mode of intervention, and outcome data were collected. Results Forty-two patients were identified and their initial management was as follows: 32 patients were observed and 10 underwent intervention (four aspiration and sclerotherapy and six resection). Age (y) was higher for intervention patients than observation patients (P = 0.004), as was the cyst size (P < 0.001). Incidental finding was the most common presentation in observation patients (n = 30; 94%) and abdominal pain for intervention groups: aspiration and sclerotherapy (n = 3; 75%) and resection (n = 5; 83%). Two patients failed observation and required aspiration and sclerotherapy due to persistence of symptoms or size increase. Median number of aspiration with and without sclerotherapy interventions was three (range 1-5). All six patients had persistence, with two requiring surgical resection due to symptomatic persistence. Surgical procedures included laparoscopic cystectomy (n = 3), laparoscopic partial (n = 2) or complete splenectomy (n = 1), and/or open splenectomy (n = 2). One laparoscopic cystectomy patient had persistence but the other two had no follow-up imaging. Partial and total splenectomy patients had no recurrence and/or persistence. Conclusions Observation is an appropriate management strategy for small asymptomatic splenic cysts. Aspiration with and without sclerotherapy and laparoscopic cystectomy are associated with higher rates of recurrence; thus, partial splenectomy may provide the best balance of recurrence and spleen preservation.
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