Indocyanine green (ICG) is a fluorescent dye with increasing use for adult sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). The utility of ICG in pediatric oncology remains understudied. We aim to describe our experience using ICG for SLNB in pediatrics versus standard blue dye. A retrospective review of pediatric patients with melanoma or sarcoma who underwent SLNB with technetium plus ICG or blue dye from 2014 to 2023 at a large academic children’s hospital was conducted.

Results: Twenty-four patients were included; 58.3% were male with median age 13 years (range 4-21 years). The majority had a melanocytic tumor (91.7%) and 8.3% had sarcoma. All patients received technetium with concomitant blue dye (62.5%) or ICG (37.5%). ICG more reliably identified radioactive SLNs, compared to blue dye (mean 100% vs 78.3 ± 8.3%, p = 0.03). There was no significant difference in median operative time (ICG 82 min [68-203] vs blue dye 93 min [78-105], p = 0.84). Seven patients had positive SLNs (29.2%), with recurrence in 2 patients (8.3%) and 1 death (4.2%). There were no adverse events.

Conclusion: ICG-directed SLNB in children is a safe and effective alternative to blue dye. Use of ICG did not add to operative time, and more often identified sentinel nodes versus blue dye.

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