Fluorescence imaging tool from Intuitive Surgical receives FDA approval for use in gallbladder surgery

The Firefly fluorescence imaging vision system from Intuitive Surgical (Sunnyvale, CA) has received FDA clearance for use during gallbladder surgery. The system enables use of a special video camera and glowing dye to view blood flowing in vessels and tissue during minimally invasive surgical procedures; blood appears green and tissue without blood flow appears gray.

Related: A new view of robotic surgery

In addition to providing the ability to view blood flow through vessels and tissue, the expanded use now includes real-time imaging of bile ducts (cystic duct, common bile duct, and common hepatic duct). The system is intended for use along with normal white light in imaging of the bile ducts and is not intended for standalone use.

Injuries to the common bile duct represent a serious and challenging surgical complication, and most often occur during laparoscopic gallbladder removal. This occurs when the common bile duct is mistaken for the cystic duct, resulting in clipping and division of the common duct, which is then resected with the gallbladder. So it is beneficial in minimally invasive surgery to have the ability to properly identify the biliary duct.

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