Efficacy of Near-Infrared Fluorescence-Guided Hepatectomy for the Detection of Colorectal Liver Metastases: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Am Coll Surg. 2022 Feb 1;234(2):130-137. doi: 10.1097/XCS.0000000000000029.


Background: The application of indocyanine green fluorescence-guided hepatectomy for liver metastases from colorectal cancer is in the preliminary stage of clinical practice; thus, its efficacy needs to be determined. This study compared the number of intrahepatic colorectal liver metastases detected intraoperatively and postoperative recovery data between patients who underwent traditional hepatectomy (nonindocyanine green group) and traditional hepatectomy plus intraoperative indocyanine green fluorescence imaging (indocyanine green group).

Study design: Between January 2018 and March 2020, patients with potentially resectable colorectal liver metastases were randomly assigned to the nonindocyanine green or indocyanine green group. The number of intrahepatic colorectal liver metastases identified intraoperatively and based on postoperative recovery data were compared between both groups.

Results: Overall, we recruited 80 patients, among whom 72 eligible patients were randomly assigned. After allocation, 64 patients, comprising 32 in each group, underwent the allocated intervention and follow-up. Compared with the nonindocyanine green group, the mean number of intrahepatic colorectal liver metastases identified intraoperatively in the indocyanine green group was significantly greater (mean [standard deviation], 3.03 [1.58] vs 2.28 [1.35]; p = 0.045), the postoperative hospital stay was shorter (p = 0.012) and the 1-year recurrence rate was also lower (p = 0.017). Postoperative complications and 90-day mortality were comparable, with no statistical differences.

Conclusions: Indocyanine green fluorescence imaging significantly increases the number of intrahepatic colorectal liver metastases identified and reduces postoperative hospital stay and 1-year recurrence rate without increasing hepatectomy-related complications and mortality rates.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Liver Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Optical Imaging / methods


  • Indocyanine Green