Background: In the difficult gallbladder, the rate of bile duct injury (BDI) remains high. To lessen iatrogenic biliary injury, we attempted to utilize indocyanine green (ICG)-guided fluorescence cholangiography during surgery to illuminate the extrahepatic biliary tract.

Materials and Methods: According to admission criteria, 38 patients were diagnosed with difficult gallbladder and underwent percutaneous transhepatic gallbladder drainage (PTGBD). Consecutive patients who underwent ICG-assisted laparoscopic biliary surgery (n = 18, ICG group) or conventional laparoscopic biliary surgery (n = 20, white light [WL group) were enrolled in this study. ICG group received ICG fluorescent cholangiography via PTGBD tube during operation; 16 cases of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) and 2 cases of LC plus laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LC+LCBDE) were performed by fluorescent laparoscopy. In the WL group, 16 cases of LC, 1 case of laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy (LSC), and 3 cases of LC+LCBDE were performed under white light without ICG.

Result: The biliary system was successfully established in the ICG group. Compared with the WL group, the anatomy of the Calot’s triangle with severe abdominal adhesion or local inflammatory edema was more clearly displayed by fluorescence. Laparoscopic surgery was completed in both groups without conversion to laparotomy. There were no significant differences in surgery-related complications (P = .232) and postoperative hospital stay (P = .074) between the two groups. However, compared with the WL group, the ICG group had less intraoperative blood loss (P = .002) and shorter operation duration (P = .006).

Conclusion: ICG fluorescence cholangiography has good clinical application value in the difficult gallbladder, which can avoid iatrogenic BDI, reduce surgery-related complications and intraoperative blood loss, and shorten the duration of surgery.

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