Surgical smoke or surgical plume is the smoke created by electrical and cauterisation devices used in surgery. When surgical staff are exposed to this smoke, it may cause harm, with some studies finding that exposure increased cancer risk for surgeons. This study in the journal Scientific Reports aimed to compare the concentration of surgical smoke produced by different tissues and electric diathermy modes, and to measure the effectiveness of different local exhaust ventilations.
The authors found that:
- there were varying levels of particulates given off by different devices and different tissues.
- in the cutting setting, all three smoke extractors had more than 96% efficiency in clearing surgical smoke.
- adapting an electric diathermy device with a urethral catheter is a simple and effective way to exhaust smoke in surgical operations.
They highlight the need for more research to ensure surgical staff are well protected from the risks of surgical smoke.