Background: In rectal cancer surgery, anastomotic leakage (AL) remains the most feared complication, with a frequency of up to 30% in non-high-volume centers. The preservation of proper vascularization is a key factor for successful anastomosis. The use of fluorescence with indocyanine green (ICG) as an intraoperative method to verify optimal perfusion is becoming an interesting tool in rectal surgery.
Today, robotic surgery, together with the use of the intraoperative evaluation of the perfusion with ICG, could be a real strategy to deal with AL, allowing for a more delicate and less traumatic surgical technique. This strategy may allow for an extremely accurate surgery, and for optimal control of the proper vascularization of the rectum. We performed a systematic literature search using the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane library databases.

Conclusions: ICG fluorescence is an inexpensive and quick method to assess bowel perfusion, providing immediate feedback to the surgeon.

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