The Identification of Chemical Hazards in Surgical Smoke using Headspace and Thermal Desorption GC/MS
Tanasse, Reshay L.
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During cutting and coagulation in surgery, a plume is released from the burning of tissue, hereby referred to as surgical smoke. This smoke is believed to have hazardous chemicals that could negatively affect medical professionals present in the operating room. Some states have proposed legislation demanding a certain amount of this smoke be removed from the room during surgery. The experiment described in this paper was designed to determine if the chemicals present in surgical smoke are hazardous to surgical staff. Using headspace and thermal desorption gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, the smoke released from cutting a variety of animal tissues was analyzed and chemical hazards were identified. It was determined that the side effects from the inhalation of styrene, benzaldehyde, nonanal, and decanal are detrimental to human health. Some potentially harmful effects include carcinogenic possibilities, mutagens, and immediate skin, nose, eyes, and throat irritation. The current smoke evacuation pencil manufactured by Stryker Instruments does not sufficiently remove hazardous smoke in the operating room; therefore, new products must be created and legislation must be put in place to sufficiently remove a majority of hazardous smoke from operating rooms to protect the surgical staff.