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REVIEW  CLINICAL APPLICATION OF INDOCYANINE GREEN IN LIVER SURGERY 

Minerva Surgery 2021 June;76(3):220-8

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5691.21.08673-1

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Indocyanine green staining for intraoperative perfusion assessment

Omid SALEHI 1, Vera KAZAKOVA 2, Eduardo A. VEGA 1, Claudius CONRAD 1

1 Department of Surgery, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 2 Department of Medicine, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA



Indocyanine green (ICG) is a fluorescent iodide-based dye which is used in hepatic surgery to evaluate the biliary tree, liver perfusion, and function. While liver perfusion assessment and delineation of anatomic regions has been performed using ultrasound, ischemic demarcation, or indigo carmine/methylene blue staining, ICG staining can overcome limitations associated with these techniques, such as rapid washout, lack of precision, non-demarcation in damaged livers, and lack of intraparenchymal fidelity. ICG can be used to fluoresce target segments/tumors (Positive staining) or counterstain normal liver tissue leaving areas of interest unstained (negative staining). Moreover, ICG enhancement patterns vary for different tumors, such as colorectal liver metastases vs. hepatocellular carcinoma, providing not only help with detection but also assessment of differentiation. In the field of oncology, benefits of ICG include detection of small radiographically occult tumors, distinction between cirrhotic nodules and cancer, identification of necrotic tumors in chemotherapy-damaged livers, and determining margins when intraoperative ultrasound is inadequate. While ICG has important and expanding indications in hepatic surgery, limitations include small depth of penetrance, need for special monitors/equipment, and potential for dye spillage. ICG is well tolerated, has a small learning curve, minimally invasive surgical integration, and options of both portal vein and peripheral vein injection and hence is a safe and versatile method of anatomic liver mapping, tumor visualization, and liver graft perfusion evaluation in oncologic surgery and liver transplantation. Advancements in technique and technology associated with ICG will aid in increasing the indications in hepato-biliary surgery.


KEY WORDS: Indocyanine green; Liver; Surgical procedures, operative

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