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Surgical Holdings: Smoke Evacuation

What are your thoughts?

In the UK, Patients, Nurses, ODPs and Surgeons are exposed to surgical smoke, plume and aerosols during multiple procedures. Surgical smoke is produced by various surgical devices, machines and equipment such as lasers, electrosurgical units, high-speed drills etc. All of these devices produce heat, which allows the surgeon to achieve the desired tissue effect. The most common device used is the electrosurgery unit. Electrosurgery uses high-frequency current to cut and coagulate tissue. The disruption releases the cellular fluid as steam and spews the cell contents into the air forming a surgical smoke plume.

Although the long-term effects for healthcare workers exposed to surgical smoke remain unknown, there is an urgent need to be proactive and prevent any potential harm. Engineering controls and personal protective equipment should be used to protect all staff and patients from exposure to smoke by-products. We believe that understanding the environmental hazards related to surgical smoke and aerosols produced during all operative and invasive procedures, is a critical first step in the implementation of adequate protective measures for both patients and perioperative personnel.

Portable smoke evacuation systems are currently the most versatile choice for most operating rooms in the UK. However, part of the extensive Bovie range, the Smoke Shark II provides an effective smoke and particle removal alternative.

The Smoke Shark II is:

• A modern, light-weight, compact design allowing for simplified use, storage and stack-ability.

• The SF35 Extended-Life Filter offers up to 35 hours of performance reducing procedure cost by ~38% from the previous model, when used at the lowest setting.

• Covered 3-port filter design accommodates a variety of tubing sizes [1/4″(6.4mm), 3/8″(9.5mm), and 7/8″(22mm)] providing versatility in procedure and accessory setup.

• The ultra-quiet design offers the same excellent performance with less noise.

Did you know: Bovie® electrosurgery portfolio, is part of the extensive Symmetry Surgical range, in which Surgical Holdings are the only UK distributor for?

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has developed a guidance document on surgical smoke to be used by managers in the National Health Service. The document acknowledges the harmful effects of the contents of surgical smoke and recommends that local exhaust ventilation (LEV) be used to evacuate and filter the smoke. Theatres usually have high rates of general ventilation. This does not, however, prevent the emission of smoke into the room or the exposure of staff. Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is required to achieve this. The known irritancy, the other hazardous properties of the component contaminants, and the persistent concerns of chronic effects combine to lead to the conclusion that effective LEV should be considered a required control measure’ (BOHS 2006). – AfPP Association October 2009

So, with the above in mind: Should Patients, Nurses, ODPs and Surgeons be protected from carcinogenic smoke during surgery? We would like to hear your thoughts on this important topic – Please comment below or contact us on: 01702 602050 or

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Amy Mills

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