What Can be Done to Minimize Exposure to Surgical Smoke?

The best protection for health care professionals against the health hazards of surgical smoke is a freestanding smoke evacuator with a hose that evacuates the surgical smoke directly at the procedure site. While smoke evacuation systems are still considered by some to be noisy, expensive, annoying and cumbersome, most smoke evacuation systems today are affordable, smaller, quieter and easier to use, especially the smoke evacuation systems offered by Surgimedics. The key components to an efficient smoke evacuation system are: a capture device that does not interfere with the surgeon’s activities; a vacuum source with strong enough suction to evacuate the smoke properly; and a filtration system that is efficient down to 0.1 micron particles at 99.9995% as well as being capable of removing other viral products or harmful by-products. When use of a freestanding smoke evacuator is not available, both the common surgical mask and in-line filters for wall suction systems provide some protection from surgical smoke. Neither of these methods should be viewed as providing absolute protection. There are limitations in both the size of particle a surgical mask is able to trap and the amount of smoke an in-line filter is able to remove.