Insufficiency of gastrointestinal anastomoses represents a relevant risk of morbidity and mortality for affected patients. The perfusion quality of the ends of the intestine is the decisive parameter for ensuring sufficient healing of an anastomosis. Intraoperative fluorescence-guided perfusion assessment with indocyanine green is increasingly being used in modern visceral surgery to evaluate tissue perfusion prior to the fashioning of gastrointestinal anastomoses.

This technique provides the possibility to distinguish between adequately and inadequately perfused tissue in order to place the anastomosis in the region with the best possible perfusion. Thus, surgeons have a measuring instrument that enables an objective assessment of the perfusion quality of the tissue to be undertaken in addition to a purely subjective macroscopic visual assessment, in order to achieve a better functional result for the patients. Currently, however, the value of this technique has not yet been conclusively clarified.

The aim of this review article is to characterize the benefits of intraoperative fluorescence-guided perfusion assessment and to classify it with respect to its significance for routine clinical practice.

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