Several surgical devices can generate smoke as they cauterize tissue. This smoke may pose a number of hazards, especially over a long period of time.

Surgical devices associated with smoke: electrocautery, laser



(1) toxic and potentiall carcinogenic chemicals (benzene, 1,2-dichlorethane, ethylbenzene, etc)

(2) smoke inhalation and irritation

(3) infectious aerosols


Risk for potential problems:

(1) long-term exposure

(2) significant smoke generation

(3) poor ventilation

(4) lack of adequate personal protective equipment


The risk can be reduced by:

(1) being trained in the hazards

(2) providing smoke removal from the operative field (high efficiency particulate air = HEPA filter)

(3) wearing fitted N95 mask

(4) wearing adequate eye protection

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