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J Gastrointest Surg. 2004 Jul-Aug;8(5):543-6.

Safety and reliability of tattooing colorectal neoplasms prior to laparoscopic resection.

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Department of Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Accurate tumor localization is critical to performing minimally invasive colorectal resection. This study reviews the safety and reliability of tattooing colorectal neoplasms prior to laparoscopic resection. We retrospectively reviewed 50 consecutive patients with colorectal neoplasms who underwent endoscopic tattooing prior to laparoscopic resection. Data were obtained from medical charts, endoscopy records, and pathology reports. No complications related to endoscopy or tattooing were incurred. Five neoplasms (10%) were in the ascending colon, five (10%) were in the transverse colon, eight (16%) were in the descending colon, 23 (46%) were in the sigmoid colon, and nine (18%) were in the rectum. Tattoos were visualized intraoperatively and accurately localized the neoplasm in 44 patients (88%). Six patients (12%) did not have tattoos visualized laparoscopically and required intraoperative localization. On average, the pathology specimens in this series had a 15 cm proximal margin, a 12 cm distal margin, and 15 lymph nodes. In the context of laparoscopic colorectal resection, preoperative endoscopic tattooing is a safe and reliable method of tumor localization in most cases. Localizing colon and proximal rectal lesions with tattoos may be preferable to other localization techniques including intraoperative endoscopy.

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