The breadth of pediatric surgical practice and variety of anatomic anomalies that characterize surgical disease in children and neonates require a unique level of operative mastery and versatility. Intraoperative navigation of small, complex, and often abnormal anatomy presents a particular challenge for pediatric surgeons. Clinical experience with fluorescent tissue dye, specifically indocyanine green (ICG), is quickly gaining widespread incorporation into adult surgical practice as a safe, non-toxic means of accurately visualizing tissue perfusion, lymphatic flow, and biliary anatomy to enhance operative speed, safety, and patient outcomes. Experience in pediatric surgery, however, remains limited.

ICG-fluorescence guided surgery is poised to address the challenges of pediatric and neonatal operations for a growing breadth of surgical pathology. Fluorescent angiography has permitted intraoperative visualization of colorectal flap perfusion for complex pelvic reconstruction and anastomotic perfusion after esophageal atresia repair, while its hepatic absorption and biliary excretion has made it an excellent agent for delineating the dissection plane in the Kasai portoenterostomy and identifying both primary and metastatic hepatoblastoma lesions. Subcutaneous and intra-lymphatic ICG injection can identify iatrogenic chylous leaks and improved yields in sentinel lymph node biopsies.

ICG-guided surgery holds promise for more widespread use in pediatric surgical conditions, and continued evaluation of efficacy will be necessary to better inform clinical practice and identify where to focus and develop this technical resource.

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