The utility of intraoperative perfusion assessment during resection of colorectal cancer

De Nardi P, et al. Intraoperative angiography with indocyanine green to assess anastomosis perfusion in patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal resection: results of a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Surg Endosc. 2020 Jan;34(1):53-60.

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Results: After randomization, 12 patients were excluded. Accordingly, 240 patients were included in the analysis; 118 were in the study group, and 122 in the control group. ICG angiography showed insufficient perfusion of the colic stump, which led to extended bowel resection in 13 cases (11%). An anastomotic leak developed in 11 patients (9%) in the control group and in 6 patients (5%) in the study group (p = n.s.).

Conclusions: Intraoperative ICG fluorescent angiography can effectively assess vascularization of the colic stump and anastomosis in patients undergoing colorectal resection. This method led to further proximal bowel resection in 13 cases, however, there was no statistically significant reduction of anastomotic leak rate in the ICG arm.


Son GM, et al. Quantitative analysis of colon perfusion pattern using indocyanine green (ICG) angiography in laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Surg Endosc. 2019 May;33(5):1640-1649.

Results: The mean age of patients was 65.4 years, and the male-to-female ratio was 63:23. Their operations were laparoscopic low anterior resection (55 cases) and anterior resection (31 cases). The incidence of anastomotic complication was 7%, including colonic necrosis (n = 1), anastomotic leak (n = 3), delayed pelvic abscess (n = 1), and delayed anastomotic dehiscence (n = 1). Based on quantitative analysis, the fluorescence slope, T1/2MAX, and TR were related with anastomotic complications. The cut-off value of TR to categorize the perfusion pattern was determined to be 0.6, as shown by ROC curve analysis (AUC 0.929, P < 0.001). Slow perfusion (TR > 0.6) was independent factor for anastomotic complications in a logistic regression model (OR 130.84; 95% CI 6.45-2654.75; P = 0.002). Anastomotic complications were significantly correlated with the novel factor TR (> 0.6) as the most reliable predictor of perfusion and anastomotic complications.

Conclusions: Quantitative analysis of ICG perfusion patterns using T1/2MAX and TR can be applied to detect segments with poor perfusion, thereby reducing anastomotic complications during laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Please note: “It is difficult to prove an effect that reduces the rate of anastomotic complications via perfusion analysis, especially when considering its multifactorial nature. Thus, large-scale multicenter studies are needed to confirm that quantitative perfusion analysis has the potential to prevent anastomotic complications.” (Son, et al., 2019, p. 1647).


Ryu HS, et al. Intraoperative perfusion assessment of the proximal colon by a visual grading system for safe anastomosis after resection in left-sided colorectal cancer patients. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 2;11(1):2746.

We aimed to evaluate the clinical feasibility of a new visual grading system. We included 50 patients who underwent resection of primary colorectal cancer. Before anastomosis, the marginal vessel was cut and the perfusion status was assessed by a visual grading system.

The visual grading system is comprised of five grades according to the bleeding from the marginal vessel and is categorized into 4 groups: good (grade A and B), moderate (grade C), poor (grade D) and none (grade E).

Colorectal anastomosis was performed only in the good and moderate groups. We compared postoperative outcomes between the good and moderate groups and analysed the factors affecting the perfusion grade. Among the patients, 48% were grade A, 12% were grade B, and 40% were grade C. There was no anastomotic leakage. Only one patient with grade C showed ischemic colitis and needed reoperation. Age was the only factor correlated with perfusion grade in multivariate analysis (OR 1.080, 95% CI 1.006-1.159, p = 0.034). The perfusion grades were significantly different between > 65 and < 65 year-old patients (> 65, A 29.2% B 12.5% C 58.3% vs. < 65, A 65.4% B 11.5% C 23.1%, p = 0.006).

Our intraoperative perfusion assessment that uses a cutting method and a visual grading system is simple and useful for performing a safe anastomosis after colorectal resection. If the perfusion grade is better than grade C, an anastomosis can be performed safely. Age was found to be an important factor affecting the perfusion grade.


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