The use of preoperative endoscopic tattooing in laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery for endoscopically advanced tumors: a prospective comparative clinical study

World J Surg. 2006 Apr;30(4):605-11. doi: 10.1007/s00268-005-0473-3.


Background: Endoscopic India ink marking techniques are often used for the intraoperative location of colonic polyps and early stage neoplasms. The aim of this study was to compare how effective this technique is compared with conventional localization methods, as well as its influence on the results of colorectal laparoscopy (LSCRC) for endoscopically advanced tumors.

Methods: From January 2003 to January 2005, 47 patients with colorectal carcinomas were included in the study. In one group, lesions were localized preoperatively by endoscopic India ink tattooing (n = 21; tattooed group, TG), while conventional methods were used in the others (n = 26; non-tattooed group, NTG). Patients' perioperative clinical and pathoanatomical data were prospectively collected.

Results: Both groups were comparable in age, sex distribution, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, body mass index (BMI), technique performed, tumor size and proportion of patients who had previous abdominal surgery. Three patients presented ink spillage without clinical repercussions. Visualization of the correct resection site was higher in the TG (100% vs. 80.8%, P = 0.03). Operative time (147.3 +/- 46.2 vs. 187.0 +/- 52.7 minutes, P = 0.02) and blood loss (99.3 +/- 82.8 vs. 163.6 +/- 96.6 cc, P = 0.03) were lower in the TG. There were no differences between groups regarding peristalsis, introduction of oral intake, hospital stay or intra- and postoperative complication rates. No differences were observed amongst pathoanatomical data studied.

Conclusions: Preoperative endoscopic tattooing is a safe and effective technique for intraoperative localization of advanced colorectal neoplasms, improving the operative results of LSCRC.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carbon*
  • Colectomy
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tattooing*


  • chinese ink
  • Carbon