Ample clinical and experimental evidence suggests the existence of a direct link between surgical smoke and harm to the human body. Literature and publications have focussed on patient and clinician protection and personal protective equipment. The major health concern faced in clinical practice is the transmission of biological agents such as the infectious human papilloma virus. The hazards of surgical smoke are well documented and electrosurgical units (ESUs) are an integral part of surgical practice. "Studies reveal that Ultra Fine Particle concentrations in procedure rooms are 6.7x greater than an average background, this is associated with increased oxidative stress and can potentially produce long-term health hazards"
Smoke plumes can be generated by electrosurgical, laser and ultrasonic devices. Interestingly, evidence proves that "1g of tissue would create a smoke plume with a mutagenic effect equivalent to smoking 6 unfiltered cigarettes". Data suggests that the use of smoke extraction devices can be a beneficial component in preventing plume-associated hazards. N95 masks and smoke evacuators are crucial at filtering nanoparticles. Other modes of education, such as advertisements and counselling should be attempted to improve awareness.
UKCSP will be dedicated to seeing that positive changes happen, as we move towards a healthier, safer, plume free environment.
Dr Z Adam Kader, Chairman UKCSP Ltd.
1 g of tissue would create a smoke plume with a mutagenic effect equivalent to smoking 6 unfiltered cigarettes
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that half a million health-care workers are exposed to laser surgical smoke each year, which contain 149 identified chemicals.
When biological tissue is subjected to laser radiation, the target cells undergo laser pyrolysis, resulting in the aerosolization of their contents and the subsequent exposure of health care workers to laser-generated air contaminants (LGACs).
Potentially, general health effects associated with exposures to LGACs include irritation, mutagenicity, genotoxicity, and cytotoxicity (Tomita et al. 1981).
Intact human papillomavirus DNA has been demonstrated in the CO2 laser plume of common wart treatments.
A recent study by Chuang et al. (Environ Health. 2017; 16: 30) documented high levels of ultrafine particles (UFP), particles less than 1 μm in aerodynamic diameter, during an LHR procedure
We can make a difference. Let us work in a Smoke free environment. Join us to discuss your ideas and vision for a smoke free practice.