Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) is a technique of augmented reality that, when applied in the operating theatre, allows the colorectal surgeon to visualize and assess bowel vascularization, to identify lymph nodes draining a cancer site and to identify ureters. Herein, we review the literature regarding NIRF in colorectal surgery. Near-infrared fluorescence appears to be a useful tool that assists surgeons performing colorectal surgery by identifying poorly vascularized areas of the bowel and therefore decreasing the incidence of anastomotic leak, visualizing lymphatic drainage and identifying the ureters during difficult surgery.

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