Exposure assessment of particulates, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde in surgical smoke
Background and Objectives: Electro-cautery is vital to coagulate blood vessels in order to reduce blood loss and operation time. Health hazards of surgical smoke are well documented in academic literature. The exact risk from surgical smoke to surgeons and other members in surgical staff in the operation room is still not clear. This study assesses the health effects in surgeons from exposure to particulates, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde found in surgical smoke. Additionally, this study quantifies the exposure of surgical staff to these chemicals in surgical smoke during open and laparoscopic procedures. Finally, this study evaluates the efficiency of surgical smoke evacuation systems to restore a smoke-free environment. Method: A health symptoms questionnaire was sent to approximately 200 surgeons in a medical center. We measured particulates and carbon monoxide using direct reading instruments and VOCs and formaldehyde using passive badges. Area monitoring was conducted in the presence and the absence of surgical smoke evacuation systems and continued one hour after surgery. Results: Some surgeons will report adverse health effects associated with exposure to surgical smoke. Though the levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, VOCs and formaldehyde will gradually decrease after surgery during area monitoring, we expect the persistence of these chemicals even after surgery and in the presence of surgical smoke evacuation systems. Conclusion: This study will help to determine the persistence of chemicals in surgical smoke in the presence of engineering controls and its effect on surgeons' health.
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research
Evaluate the efficiency of engineering control systems in maintenance of smoke-free environment in operation room that lead to reduction in exposure of pollutants in surgical smoke
Keyword(s): Occupational Health, Occupational Exposure
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Toxicology program. My research interests include health effects of occupational exposure of hazardous pollutants. I have been working on exposure assessment of the chemicals in surgical smoke since last six months.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.