The use of indocyanine green fluorescence to assess anastomotic perfusion during robotic assisted laparoscopic rectal surgery
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- Jafari, M.D., Lee, K.H., Halabi, W.J. et al. Surg Endosc (2013) 27: 3003. doi:10.1007/s00464-013-2832-8
Decreased blood perfusion at an intestinal anastomosis may contribute to postoperative anastomotic leak (AL) resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality. Near-infrared (NIR) laparoscopy in conjunction with indocyanine green (ICG) allows for visualization of the microcirculation before formation of the anastomosis, thereby allowing the surgeon to choose the point of transection at an optimally perfused area.
This is a retrospective case-control analysis examining the effectiveness of NIR + ICG in reducing the rate of AL after low anterior resection (LAR) for rectal cancer. Records of patients undergoing robot-assisted LAR for rectal cancer with and without ICG were analyzed for the years 2011 and 2012.
Among the 40 patients who underwent robotic LAR, NIR + ICG was used in 16 cases (41 %). Male patients accounted for the majority of cases in both groups (74 %). The median level of the anastomosis was 3.5 cm in the NIR + ICG group and 5.5 cm in the control group. There was no difference in the use of diverting ileostomy. In 3 patients (19 %), the use of NIR + ICG resulted in revision of the proximal bowel (colonic) transection point before formation of the anastomosis. The distal transection point was never revised. The rate of AL in the NIR + ICG group was 6 % versus 18 % in control group.
ICG fluorescence may play a role in anastomotic tissue perfusion assessment and affect the AL rate. Larger prospective studies are needed to further validate this novel technology.