Intraoperative imaging during minimally invasive transoral robotic surgery using near-infrared light

Nicholas Scott-Wittenborn, Ryan S. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of the FIREFLY imaging system could be an asset in transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). The system uses indocyanine green dye (ICG), which fluoresces when illuminated by near-infrared light from the Da Vinci robot. The system may improve visualization of tumor margins, highlight important vascular structures, and help identify the location of tumors and unknown primary head and neck cancers. Methods: Six patients with OPSCC were enrolled in the study. Two of these cases were unknown primaries, one was base of tongue, and three were palatine tonsils. Each patient was given two 3 ml doses of ICG, one at the beginning of the surgical case and one during resection of the tumor. The oropharynx was then visualized using the near-infrared light of the Da Vinci robot for a minute after injection. Results: The FIREFLY system was unable to detect gross tumors, positive margins, unknown primaries, or vascular structures in any of the six subjects in the study. In addition, there were no adverse events or side effects in any of the subjects. Conclusion: The use of the FIREFLY system with indocyanine green fluorescence did not identify tumor boundaries, unknown primary head and neck cancers, or vascular structures in the oropharynx.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-222
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Da Vinci
  • Indocyanine green
  • Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Transoral robotic surgery


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