Outpatient Surgery Magazine

In & Out - May 2017 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

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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Make Surgical Smoke Evacuation Mandatory Let's clear the air and address a major health hazard facing OR staff. I n 2013, orthopedic surgeon Anthony K. Hedley, MD, FRCS, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease that's as bad as it sounds. Irreversible and ultimately fatal, IPF causes scar tissue to grow inside your lungs. At age 70, he under- went a life-saving double lung transplant. What else could have caused this, he thought, but 40 years of smoking? No, he'd never touched a cigarette, but he had inhaled the surgical plume from nearly 11,000 joint replacements. "That's 30 to 40,000 hours. That's a lot of exposure," he says. "I've made a lot of Bovie smoke in my day." Bovie smoke. That's what he calls the byproduct of high-heat electrical tools used to cut and cauterize skin and tissue during surgery. "It's noxious. There's nothing nice about it," says Dr. Hedley. "It smells like a barbecue. Either you're burning flesh or you're burning fat. Some nasty things come out of Bovie smoke." Nasty is a good word. Consider: • Surgical smoke contains about 150 chemicals, including 16 EPA priori- ty pollutants, toxic and carcinogenic substances, and viruses and bacteria. As early as 1988, researchers published studies that revealed the presence of mutagens, carcinogens, and viable disease-causing cells in the smoke plume produced by heat destruction of human tissue. • The smoke produced in an OR every day can be equivalent to smoking as many as 30 unfiltered cigarettes. That's 1 1 ⁄2 packs of Pall Malls a day. And yet exposure to surgical smoke remains one of the largest unad- dressed health hazards facing operating room staff today. Will it remain 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 • J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 Editor's Page Dan O'Connor Anthony K. Hedley, MD, FRCS

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