Purpose: The aims of this review are to determine the feasibility of near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) angiography in anastomotic colorectal surgery and to determine the effectiveness of the technique in improving imaging and quantification of vascularization, thereby aiding in decision making as to where to establish the anastomosis.
Methods: A systematic literature search of PubMed and EMBASE was conducted. Searching through the reference lists of selected articles identified additional studies. All English language articles presenting original patient data regarding intraoperative NIRF angiography were included without restriction of type of study, except for case reports, technical notes, and video vignettes. The intervention consisted of intraoperative NIRF angiography during anastomotic colorectal surgery to assess perfusion of the colon, sigmoid, and/or rectum. Primary outcome parameters included ease of use, added surgical time, complications related to the technique, and costs. Other relevant outcomes were whether this technique changed intraoperative decision making, whether effort was taken by the authors to quantify the signal and the incidence of postoperative complications.
Results: Ten studies were included. Eight of these studies make a statement about the ease of use. In none of the studies complications due to the use of the technique occurred. The technique changed the resection margin in 10.8% of all NIRF cases. The anastomotic leak rate was 3.5% in the NIRF group and 7.4% in the group with conventional imaging. Two of the included studies used an objective quantification of the fluorescence signal and perfusion, using ROIs (Hamamatsu Photonics) and IC-Calc® respectively.
Conclusions: Although the feasibility of the technique seems to be agreed on by all current research, large clinical trials are mandatory to further evaluate the added value of the technique.