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Since the introduction of indocyanine green angiography more than 25 years ago, few studies have presented interpretative guidelines for indocyanine green fluorescent imaging.We aimed to provide interpretative guidelines for indocyanine green fluorescent imaging through quantitative analysis and to suggest possible indications for indocyanine green fluorescent imaging during robot-assisted sphincter-saving operations.This is a retrospective observational study.This study was conducted at a single center.A cohort of 657 patients with rectal cancer who consecutively underwent curative robot-assisted sphincter-saving operations was enrolled between 2010 and 2016, including 310 patients with indocyanine green imaging (indocyanine green fluorescent imaging+ group) and 347 patients without indocyanine green imaging (indocyanine green fluorescent imaging− group).We tried to quantitatively define the indocyanine green fluorescent imaging findings based on perfusion (mesocolic and colic) time and perfusion intensity (5 grades) to provide probable indications.The anastomotic leakage rate was significantly lower in the indocyanine green fluorescent imaging+ group than in the indocyanine green fluorescent imaging− group (0.6% vs 5.2%) (OR, 0.123; 95% CI, 0.028–0.544; p = 0.006). Anastomotic stricture was closely correlated with anastomotic leakage (p = 0.002) and a short descending mesocolon (p = 0.003). Delayed perfusion (>60 s) and low perfusion intensity (1–2) were more frequently detected in patients with anastomotic stricture and marginal artery defects than in those without these factors (p ≤ 0.001). In addition, perfusion times greater than the mean were more frequently observed in patients aged >58 years, whereas low perfusion intensity was seen more in patients with short descending mesocolon and high ASA classes (≥3).The 300 patients in the indocyanine green fluorescent imaging− group underwent operations 3 years before indocyanine green fluorescent imaging.Quantitative analysis of indocyanine green fluorescent imaging may help prevent anastomotic complications during robot-assisted sphincter-saving operations, and may be of particular value in high-class ASA patients, older patients, and patients with a short descending mesocolon.