alexa Chemical composition of smoke produced by high-frequency electrosurgery.


Journal of Clinical Toxicology

Author(s): O S Al Sahaf, I VegaCarrascal, F O Cunningham, J P McGrath, F J Bloomfield

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BACKGROUND: Exposure to surgical smoke during electrosurgery may be harmful to theatre personnel. This study quantified toxic compounds present and we were particularly interested in isolating toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene due to their putative carcinogenic effects. METHODS: A variety of surgical procedures were studied. Smoke samples emitted during electrosurgery were collected in charcoal tubes and analysed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Surgery involving mainly thermal decomposition of adipose tissue produced greater quantities of aldehydes and lower concentrations of toluene. In contrast, smoke generated during epidermal tissue ablation produced higher levels of toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated the presence of irritant, carcinogenic and neurotoxic compounds in electrosurgical smoke. This may have considerable implications for the health and safety of all involved in surgical practice, as exposure to these compounds pose potential risks to health.

This article was published in Ir J Med Sci. and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology

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