Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Surgical Smoke Nearly Killed Me - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine - February 2018

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 37 of 128

ing facilities to evacuate surgical smoke created during procedures. And while the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) notes that an estimated 500,000 workers, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgical technologists, are exposed to laser or electrosurgical smoke, they stop short of requiring surgical smoke evacuators, instead simply noting that "employers should be aware of this emerging problem." Protecting the OR But that's not good enough. I have been on a mission to warn my col- leagues about these dangers. People who are using these electro- cautery and laser devices need to understand that there is a potential hazard that comes with it. While the danger is great, there is a fairly simple solution: smoke evacuation. For me, that means that whenever I'm performing a pro- cedure that creates smoke, I will always use a surgical smoke evacua- tion pencil that attaches to my electrocautery device and removes smoke plume directly at the source. I want others to do the same. Still, some hesitate to use the devices. A 2011 study from NIOSH found that less than half of healthcare workers surveyed reported using local exhaust ventilation during laser surgery and only 15% reported local exhaust ventilation was used during electrosurgery (osmag.net/H9guDG). I remain optimistic. I believe that with more attention being paid to the dangers of surgical smoke, more facilities are getting on board with recommendations to use a smoke evacuator. There are several new technologies available that are immensely better than the loud and bulky evacuators of the past. The latest ones are smaller, easy to use and less disruptive. The pencil I use is only a half-inch in diameter and connects to my electrosurgical device to get rid of smoke at the 3 8 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • F E B R U A R U Y 2 0 1 8

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