Safety and efficacy of India ink and indocyanine green as colonic tattooing agents.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Controversy exists concerning the safety and efficacy of colonic tattooing for the intraoperative identification of polypectomy sites. The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the concentrations of India ink and indocyanine green that resulted in high-visibility tattoos without significant tissue inflammation and (2) the India ink injection volume that produces best visibility at colonoscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy. METHODS: Twenty-two New Zealand white rabbits (2 kg) were anesthetized and injected with India ink (undiluted 1:10, 1:50, 1:100, 1:1000, 1:10,000) and indocyanine green as an undiluted, concentrated formulation (25 mL/2 mL solvent) or in a diluted form (25 mg/5 mL solvent) at various concentrations (1:10, 1:50, 1:100). Tuberculin syringes were used to create a 0.1 mL serosal bleb at two injection sites 2 cm apart. Laparotomy was repeated at days 1, 3, and 7 after injection. Additionally, 16 rabbits were injected with India ink at laparotomy and re-explored at 1 and 5 months. Twelve mongrel dogs (20 kg) were injected with 1.0 mL volumes. Re-exploration by colonoscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy was done at 7 days and 1 month. Tattoo visibility at re-exploration in both animal models was graded on a scale (0 = agent not seen, 1 = seen with difficulty, 2 = easily seen). Histology in the rabbit was judged by degrees of inflammation (0 = no inflammation, 2 = mild inflammation, 4 = moderate inflammation, 6 = severe inflammation). RESULTS: The concentrated indocyanine green solution was easily visible only on day 1 in the rabbit. Injections of both concentrated and diluted indocyanine green caused mucosal ulceration and moderate to severe inflammation. India ink studied at 7 days, 1 month, and 5 months after injection in the rabbit model was visible at all concentrations. The undiluted and 1:10 concentrations were easily seen and showed evidence of mucosal ulceration. Tattoos produced with all other India ink concentrations were visible without gross inflammation. India ink was also studied at 7 days and 1 month in dogs. The tattoo with the 1:100 concentration at 0.5 mL was seen consistently at colonoscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy with only a mild submucosal reaction at 7 days. The tattoos produced with the 1:100 and 1:1000 concentrations at 0.5 mL and 1.0 mL injection volumes were easily seen by all methods of intraabdominal visualization at 1 month with similar histology. CONCLUSION: Indocyanine green was an ineffective colonic tattooing agent. India ink was an effective colonic tattooing agent. Dilute concentrations that caused little to no inflammation could be visualized at 7 days and 1 month in rabbits and dogs and at 5 months in rabbits. India ink, at appropriated concentrations, appears to be a safe short- and long-term colonic tattooing agent.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Price, N; Gottfried, MR; Clary, E; Lawson, DC; Baillie, J; Mergener, K; Westcott, C; Eubanks, S; Pappas, TN

Published Date

  • April 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 4 Pt 1

Start / End Page

  • 438 - 442

PubMed ID

  • 10744816

Pubmed Central ID

  • 10744816

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0016-5107


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States