Introduction: Robotic-assisted liver surgery (RALS) with its known limitations is gaining more importance. The fluorescent dye, indocyanine green (ICG), is a way to overcome some of these limitations. It accumulates in or around hepatic masses. The integrated near-infrared cameras help to visualize this accumulation. We aimed to compare the influence of ICG staining on the surgical and oncological outcomes in patients undergoing RALS.
Material and methods: Patients who underwent RALS between 2014 and 2021 at the Department of General Surgery at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, were included. In 2019, ICG-supported RALS was introduced.
Results: Fifty-four patients were included, with twenty-eight patients (50.9%) receiving preoperative ICG. Hepatocellular carcinoma (32.1%) was the main entity resected, followed by the metastasis of colorectal cancers (17%) and focal nodular hyperplasia (15.1%). ICG staining worked for different tumor entities, but diffuse staining was noted in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, ICG-supported RALS lasted shorter (142.7 ± 61.8 min vs. 246.4 ± 98.6 min, p < 0.001), tumors resected in the ICG cohort were significantly smaller (27.1 ± 25.0 mm vs. 47.6 ± 35.2 mm, p = 0.021) and more R0 resections were achieved by ICG-supported RALS (96.3% vs. 80.8%, p = 0.075).
Conclusions: ICG-supported RALS achieve surgically and oncologically safe results, while overcoming the limitations of RALS.