Recent developments in robotic surgery have led to an increasing number of robot-assisted hepatobiliary procedures. However, a limitation of robotic surgery is the missing haptic feedback. The fluorescent dye indocyanine green (ICG) may help in this context, which accumulates in hepatocellular cancers and around hepatic metastasis. ICG accumulation may be visualized by a near-infrared camera integrated into some robotic systems, helping to perform surgery more accurately. The study aimed to test the feasibility of preoperative ICG application and its intraoperative use in patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma and metastasis of colorectal cancer, but also of other origins.
“In a single-arm, single-center feasibility study, we tested preoperative ICG application and its intraoperative use in patients undergoing robot-assisted hepatic resections. Twenty patients were included in the final analysis. ICG staining helped in most cases by detecting a clear lesion or additional metastases or when performing an R0 resection. However, it has limitations if applied too late before surgery and in patients suffering from severe liver cirrhosis. ICG staining may serve as a beneficial intraoperative aid in patients undergoing robot-assisted hepatic surgery.