How to Reduce the Impact of Electrosurgical Smoke During Operations
As the owner or operator of a hospital or surgery center, it is your responsibility to provide a safe environment for patients and staff. If you use electrosurgical units at your facility, you must take steps to remove the harmful smoke plumes that can arise as you are using these devices. Below is a look at surgical smoke and the dangers it can present to you and your staff. Finally, you will discover the safest, most effective way to remove electrosurgical smoke from your operating room.
What Is Electrosurgical Smoke?
“Surgical smoke is the by-product of using these energy-generating devices that raise intracellular temperatures to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher. When the tissue vaporizes, this produces surgical smoke.” – Mary J. Ogg, MSN, RN, CNOR
Commonly known as surgical smoke, electrosurgical smoke refers to the plumes of smoke that are produced when an energy-generating device is used during a surgical procedure. Surgical smoke is generated when a device increases intracellular temperatures that cause the tissue to vaporize. The most common devices associated with surgical smoke include electrosurgical units (ESUs), bone saws, ultrasonic devices, and surgical drills.
Why Is Electrosurgical Smoke so Dangerous?
“Surgical smoke contains toxic gases and biological/viral products from tissue destruction. All OR team members and patients are exposed to the respiratory intake of this potentially harmful smoke” – Beth S. Slater, RN, MEd, CNOR
Before exploring ways to remove surgical smoke, it is helpful to understand why it poses a threat to patients and healthcare workers. Surgical smoke is dangerous for three key reasons:
- Surgical smoke impacts a large number of people. Roughly half a million patients and medical professionals are exposed to surgical smoke every year, putting them at risk for inhalation of toxic gases.
- It contains toxic chemicals. While 95% of surgical smoke is water, the other 5% can include harmful chemicals and agents such as hydrogen cyanide, perchloroethylene, carbon monoxide, and benzene, which is a carcinogen.
- Surgical smoke can lead to health problems. The most common health-related issues linked to surgical smoke are respiratory problems, nausea, and eye irritation.
How Can You Reduce the Impact of Surgical Smoke?
Indeed, there is a need to safely and effectively remove surgical smoke from the operating environment. Currently, 80% of all surgeries involving an ESU, and the number is increasing by the day. As the demand for safe smoke removal grows, medical device manufacturers are developing a variety of products to facilitate smoke evacuation.
As a healthcare practitioner or the operator of a medical facility, you can reduce the impact of surgical smoke by investing in smoke evacuation devices. While you compare options, remember that not all smoke evacuation products are created equal.
The majority of devices on the market are reused for multiple surgeries, thereby heightening the risk of cross-contamination. They require frequent reprocessing and sterilization in order to minimize the spread of infection and can be costly. Additionally, some devices feature a proprietary design that limits their usage with a wide variety of equipment makes and models.
What Is the Single Best Way to Remove Electrosurgical Smoke?
The single best way to remove electrosurgical smoke is to use devices with an integrated smoke evacuation feature that effectively channels smoke away from patients and staff while promoting infection control efforts. obp’s ONETRAC LX retractor accomplishes both of these goals while providing a host of other clinical benefits. Here are just a few of the features that have helped ONETRAC LX gain traction as a leading smoke evacuation device:
1) Promotes Infection Control
Disposable devices such as ONETRAC LX greatly reduce the risk of cross-contamination. They are new and ready to use. Surgical staff never have to worry about sterilization or reprocessing.
2) Fast, Efficient Operation
ONETRAC LX features dual smoke evacuation channels integrated into the device. The presence of two evacuation channels helps boost speed and efficiency, promoting swift removal of surgical smoke. Additionally, because the staff spends no time on reprocessing, more patients can be seen.
3) Easy to Use
With its cordless, compact design, ONETRAC LX is easy to use. Also, with intuitive features such as a color-coded size indicator to distinguish between blade sizes, new clinical staff can quickly be updated.
4) Superb Technology
ONETRAC LX contains helpful features such as a light intensity adjustment dial, a touch-free battery removal option, and measurement markers that indicate the depth of the surgical pocket.
5) A Sleek, Ergonomic Design
Comfort is a key consideration for many users, especially those who perform procedures that last several hours. ONETRAC LX has integrated LED lighting that provides cool illumination for over 3 hours. Additionally, ONETRAC LX includes an ergonomic handle and reinforced nylon material.
In addition to having an affordable price tag, ONETRAC LX offers other long-term cost savings. Costly sterilization equipment is not required, allowing clinical staff to devote more time to patient care as opposed to sterilization and equipment maintenance. ONETRAC LX is also an affordable option for facilities that only perform a modest number of surgical procedures or which lack the budget for a free-standing smoke evacuator.
ONETRAC LX’s lightweight, the cordless design enables medical professionals to use ONETRAC LX in virtually any type of surgical environment. ONETRAC LX removes surgical smoke quickly and safely. Users do not have to worry about cumbersome cords or adhering to country-specific voltage requirements.
Learn More About Electrosurgical Smoke
Safe, efficient removal of surgical smoke is vital to protecting patients and surgical staff. Single-use devices, such as ONETRAC LX, that feature built-in smoke evacuation channels are an ideal choice for safety-conscious healthcare providers. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about ONETRAC LX or request a sample. We look forward to helping you achieve safe surgical smoke removal in your facility.