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Clinical application of indocyanine green fluorescence imaging in laparoscopic lymph node dissection for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: A pilot study (with video)



Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is a highly lethal malignancy characterized by lymph node metastasis. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of indocyanine green fluorescence for visualization of lymphatic drainage and to assess its clinical application during laparoscopic lymph node dissection for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.


All patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma who underwent laparoscopic left hepatectomy and lymph node dissection between October 2018 and January 2021 were reviewed. The patients were assigned to the indocyanine green group or non–intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma group based on the staining technique used.


Of 38 patients with left hemiliver intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, 20 underwent intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma tracer-guided laparoscopic radical left hepatectomy; 12 procedures were successful (indocyanine green group). During the same period, 18 patients were treated with traditional laparoscopic resection (control group). Their intraoperative factors were comparable and there were no differences in the incidence or severity of their postoperative complications 30 days after surgery (P > .05). In the indocyanine green group, more lymph nodes were harvested (mean [range]: 7.0 [6.0–8.0] vs 3.5 [3.0–5.0], P < .001) and the proportion of confirmed pathologic lymph nodes was higher (75.0%, 66.7%–87.5% vs 40%, 33.3%–50.0%, P < .001). ICG staining was observed in all (12/12, 100%) patients in the intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma group at stations 8 and 12, and 9 (9/12, 75%) and 10 (11/12, 91.7%) patients at Stations 13 and 7, respectively.


The indocyanine green fluorescence imaging system is feasible, safe, and effective for tracing lymph nodes. It can be used to identify regional lymphatic drainage patterns and help define the scope of lymph node dissection in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

Author: Yuxin Zhang,Yujie Zhang,Jinghan Zhu,Haisu Tao,Huifang Liang,Yifa Chen,Zhanguo Zhang,Jianping Zhao,Wanguang Zhang

© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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