The preoperative detection of accessory spleens (AS) is essential in ITP patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reasons of failure and long-term results of laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Thirty-four ITP patients (27 females and 7 males) underwent LS between June 1998 and January 2001. Computed Tomography (CT) and sonography (US) were performed preoperatively to evaluate the size of the spleen and to detect the presence of possible accessory spleens which were found in two cases. AS were seen during laparoscopy in three cases. During follow-up (median time = 23 months), in three patients a low platelet count was seen after 5 months, 1.5 and 1.8 years pop. In all these cases scintigraphy was performed, which revealed in one case the residual accessory spleen. In the two other patients, inspite of thrombocytopenia no residual spleens were found. The authors conclude that laparoscopic splenectomy is a safe and effective procedure in patients with ITP. The problem of accessory spleens can be managed by careful videoscopic examination of the abdominal cavity during splenectomy. The use of the preoperative imaging techniques for detection of accessory spleens is limited by the insufficient sensitivity of the examination.