Near infrared fluorescence imaging of the urethra: a systematic review of the literature

Mahdi Al-Taher*, Bob Knapen, Manuel Barberio, Eric Felli, Sylvain Gioux, Nicole D. Bouvy, Laurents P. S. Stassen, Jacques Marescaux, Michele Diana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

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Background Urethral injury is a dreaded complication during laparoscopic, perineal and transanal surgery and is mainly a result of a failed visualization of the urethra. The aim of this systematic review is to provide an overview of the available literature on the near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging technique using contrast agents for the intra-operative visualization of the urethra. Material and methods A systematic review of the literature was conducted including studies on NIRF imaging using contrast agents to visualize the urethra. All studies describing a NIRF imaging technique and demonstrating visual findings of the urethra were included. Results Five studies were identified. Four studies examined indocyanine green, one of which also studied the IRDye(R)800BK agent and one examined the CP-IRT dye. All studies showed that the NIRF imaging technique was feasible for an early identification of the urethra. No complications related to NIRF imaging were reported. Conclusion We conclude that the use of a NIRF imaging technique is feasible and that it can contribute to prevent iatrogenic injury to the urethra. However, based on the limited available data, no solid conclusion can yet be drawn and further translation to the clinical practice is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalMinimally Invasive Therapy & Allied Technologies
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Fluorescence imaging
  • urethral visualization
  • fluorescent dyes
  • near-infrared
  • total mesorectal excision

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