The aim of this study was to investigate whether early ligation of the splenic artery before splenic lysis has an effect on the amount of intraoperative bleeding and conversion rate during laparoscopic splenectomy. Laparoscopic splenectomy was performed in 34 patients with hematological diseases or splenic cysts between January 1993 and January 2003. The splenic artery was ligated before manipulation of the spleen in 22 patients (group 1) and laparoscopic splenectomy was performed with no previous ligation of the splenic artery in 12 patients (group 2). Prospective data was collected and the groups compared regarding intraoperative blood loss, platelet count, operative time, hospital stay, and conversion rate. Laparoscopic splenectomy was successfully completed in 30 (88%) patients. One patient in group 1 (5%) and 3 patients in group 2 (25%) required conversion due to bleeding. Estimated average blood loss was 161 mL (range 70-450 mL) in group 1, and 292 mL (range 100-700 mL) in group 2 (P < 0.001). The average operative time was 140 minutes (range 80-240) in group 1, and 155 minutes (range 80-200) in group 2 (P > 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups comparing splenic size, conversion rate, hospital length of stay and platelet count.