The role of indocyanine green videoangiography with FLOW 800 analysis for the surgical management of central nervous system tumors: an update

Neurosurg Focus. 2018 Jun;44(6):E6. doi: 10.3171/2018.3.FOCUS1862.


OBJECTIVE Indocyanine green videoangiography (ICG-VA) is an intraoperative technique used to highlight vessels in neurovascular surgery. Its application in the study of the vascular pathophysiology in CNS tumors and its role in their surgical management are still rather limited. A recent innovation of ICG-VA (i.e., the FLOW 800 algorithm integrated in the surgical microscope) allows a semiquantitative evaluation of cerebral blood flow. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the systematic application of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis during surgical removal of CNS tumors. METHODS Between May 2011 and December 2017, all cases in which ICG-VA and FLOW 800 analysis were used at least one time before, during, or after the tumor resection, and in which surgical videos were available, were retrospectively reviewed. Results of the histological analysis were analyzed together with the intraoperative ICG-VA with FLOW 800 in order to investigate the tumor-related videoangiographic features. RESULTS Seventy-one patients who underwent surgery for cerebral and spinal tumors were intraoperatively analyzed using ICG-VA with FLOW 800, either before or after tumor resection, for a total of 93 videoangiographic studies. The histological diagnosis was meningioma in 25 cases, glioma in 14, metastasis in 7, pineal region tumor in 5, hemangioblastoma in 4, chordoma in 3, and other histological types in 13 cases. The authors identified 4 possible applications of ICG-VA and FLOW 800 in CNS tumor surgery: extradural surveys allowed exploration of sinus patency and the course of veins before dural opening; preresection surveys helped in identifying pathological vascularization (arteriovenous fistulas and neo-angiogenesis) and regional venous outflow, and in performing temporary venous clipping tests, when necessary; postresection surveys were conducted to evaluate arterial and venous patency and parenchymal perfusion after tumor removal; and a premyelotomy survey was conducted in intramedullary tumors to highlight the posterior median sulcus. CONCLUSIONS The authors found ICG-VA with FLOW 800 to be a useful method to monitor blood flow in the exposed vessels and parenchyma during microsurgical removal of CNS tumors in selected cases. In particular, a preresection survey provides useful information about pathophysiological changes of brain vasculature related to the tumor and aids in the individuation of helpful landmarks for the surgical approach, and the postresection survey helps to prevent potential complications associated with the resection (such as local hypoperfusion or venous infarction).

Keywords: AI = arbitrary intensity unit; AVF = arteriovenous fistula; CNS tumors; FLOW 800; GBM = glioblastoma; ICA = internal carotid artery; ICG; ICG-VA = indocyanine green videoangiography; MCA = middle cerebral artery; PCoA = posterior communicating artery; ROI = region of interest; SSS = superior sagittal sinus; indocyanine green; software analysis; videoangiography.

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods*
  • Coloring Agents
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green*
  • Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring / methods*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Indocyanine Green