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Indocyanine Green Fluorescence Angiography and the Incidence of Anastomotic Leak after Colorectal Resection for Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-analysis



Anastomotic leak is a life-threatening complication of colorectal surgery. Recent studies showed that indocyanine green fluorescence angiography might be a method to prevent anastomotic leak.


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether intraoperative indocyanine green fluorescence angiography can reduce the incidence of anastomotic leak.


Potential relevant studies were identified from the following databases: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure.


This meta-analysis included comparative studies investigating the association between indocyanine green fluorescence angiography and anastomotic leak in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer where the diagnosis of anastomotic leak was confirmed by CT and the outcomes of the indocyanine green group were compared with a control group.


Indocyanine green was injected intravenously after the division of the mesentery and colon but before anastomosis.


The Newcastle–Ottawa Scale was used to assess methodologic quality of the studies. ORs and 95% CIs were used to assess the association between indocyanine green and anastomotic leak.


In 4 studies with a total sample size of 1177, comparing the number of anastomotic leaks in the indocyanine green and control groups, the ORs were 0.45 (95% CI, 0.18–1.12), 0.30 (95% CI, 0.03–2.98), 0.17 (95% CI, 0.01–3.69), and 0.12 (95% CI, 0.03–0.52). The combined OR was 0.27 (95% CI, 0.13–0.53). The difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001), and there was no significant heterogeneity (p = 0.48; I2 = 0).


Data could not be pooled because of the small number of studies; some differences between studies may influence the results. Also, the pooled data were not randomized.


The result revealed that indocyanine green was associated with a lower anastomotic leakage rate after colorectal resection. However, larger, multicentered, high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the benefit of indocyanine green fluorescence angiography.

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