Chromophores in operative surgery: Current practice and rationalized development

Ernest A. Azzopardi, Siân Eleri Owens, Maxwell Murison, Daniel Rees, M. Anne Sawhney, Lewis W. Francis, R. Sofia Rodrigues Teixeira, Marc Clement, R. Steven Conlan, Iain S. Whitaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Chromophore-containing molecules feature extensively in surgical practice, with synthetic dyes gaining popularity over endogenous optical adjuncts. New applications for chromophores in diagnostics and operative treatment exploit unique chemical structures suited for illuminating target tissues beyond the visual spectrum, ranging from ultraviolet (UV) to near-infrared (NIR). This review outlines the rationale for surgical chromophore application, the weaknesses and risks in each class of these compounds, and areas of foreseeable potential for employment of specialized contrast agents. Method An English-language literature search applied the following Boolean Search String: “dye OR Lake OR Stain OR chromophore” AND “tox$ OR terato* OR carcino$ OR Allerg$ OR surg$ OR clinic” using EMBASE, PUBMED, PUBMED central and OVIDSp, with back-referencing through Web of Knowledge™. Results Based on the primary literature, this study proposes a surgically relevant classification system of chromophores in current use, which facilitates risk/benefit consideration for the surgeon who employs them, and which facilitates clinically oriented development. Conclusions The next stage of development for optically active surgical adjuncts must address practical constraints whilst minimizing risks of adverse effects. Exploiting the technology's full potential also requires improvements in the usefulness of imagery equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Mar 10 2017


  • Azo derivative
  • Bonney's blue
  • Chromophore
  • Contrast agent
  • Dye
  • Fluorophore
  • Indocyanine green
  • Infrared
  • Melanin
  • Methylene blue
  • Optical adjunct
  • Patent Blue V
  • Phenothiazine
  • Pigment
  • Porphyrin
  • Stain
  • Triarylmethane
  • Triphenylmethane
  • Ultraviolet
  • lymphadenectomy
  • optical
  • sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Chromophores in operative surgery: Current practice and rationalized development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this