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Research Letter
March 1, 2017

Awareness of Surgical Smoke Risks and Assessment of Safety Practices During Electrosurgery Among US Dermatology Residents

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California–Irvine Medical Center, Irvine
JAMA Dermatol. Published online March 1, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.5899

Electrosurgery is a modality often used in surgical procedures to achieve intraoperative hemostasis.1 Surgical smoke poses a significant health risk as a carcinogen, pulmonary irritant, and vector for transmitting infectious particles.2,3 Lewin et al4 conducted a review on the hazards of surgical smoke, concluding that high-filtration masks and smoke evacuation systems should be used during electrosurgery. A subsequent study by Oganesyan et al1,5 quantified the amount and chemical composition of surgical smoke, revealing a significant increase in fine particulates during active electrosurgery and an increased concentration of 2 commonly found carcinogens in cigarette smoke (1,3 butadiene and benzene). Interestingly, only 10% of dermatologic surgeons reported consistent use of smoke management modalities during surgery.1

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