Background: The application of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) imaging in surgery is growing. This study aimed to systematically review the literature to summarize the intraoperative uses of NIRS in pediatric surgery.
Methods: A PRISMA-compliant literature search was conducted and identified 53 articles. The most common uses of NIRS were to visualize the biliary tree and to identify primary and metastatic malignant tissues. Other applications include assessment of perfusion of tissues including bowel anastomoses, and lymphatic surgery. Several advantages of the introduction of NIRS in pediatric surgery exist including having the potential to reduce operative time and intra/post-operative complications. Moreover, NIRS helps in detecting malignant tissues that can be missed by conventional imaging.
Conclusions: NIRS is a promising modality that can be used intraoperatively to augment different pediatric surgical procedures. NIRS has important advantages and limitations compared to conventional surgery, however, more studies are required to evaluate its outcomes and cost-effectiveness.