Biliary tract visualization using near-infrared imaging with indocyanine green during laparoscopic cholecystectomy: results of a systematic review

S L Vlek, D A van Dam, S M Rubinstein, E.S.M. Lange-de Klerk, L J Schoonmade, J.B. Tuynman, W.J.H.J. Meijerink, M. Ankersmit

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BACKGROUND: Near-infrared imaging with indocyanine green (ICG) has been extensively investigated during laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). However, methods vary between studies, especially regarding patient selection, dosage and timing. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the potential of the near-infrared imaging technique with ICG to identify biliary structures during LC.

METHODS: A comprehensive systematic literature search was performed. Prospective trials examining the use of ICG during LC were included. Primary outcome was biliary tract visualization. Risk of bias was assessed using ROBINS-I. Secondly, a meta-analysis was performed comparing ICG to intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) for identification of biliary structures. GRADE was used to assess the quality of the evidence.

RESULTS: Nineteen studies were included. Based upon the pooled data from 13 studies, cystic duct (Lusch et al. in J Endourol 28:261-266, 2014) visualization was 86.5% (95% CI 71.2-96.6%) prior to dissection of Calot's triangle with a 2.5-mg dosage of ICG and 96.5% (95% CI 93.9-98.4%) after dissection. The results were not appreciably different when the dosage was based upon bodyweight. There is moderate quality evidence that the CD is more frequently visualized using ICG than IOC (RR 1.16; 95% CI 1.00-1.35); however, this difference was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: This systematic review provides equal results for biliary tract visualization with near-infrared imaging with ICG during LC compared to IOC. Near-infrared imaging with ICG has the potential to replace IOC for biliary mapping. However, methods of near-infrared imaging with ICG vary. Future research is necessary for optimization and standardization of the near-infrared ICG technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2731-2742
Number of pages12
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Biliary tract visualization
  • ICG
  • Intraoperative cholangiography
  • Journal Article
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Near-infrared imaging

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