Potential dangers of surgical smoke

Potential dangers of surgical smoke

Surgical smoke may carry potentially harmful toxins.²-⁴ Exposure can cause both acute and chronic health effects ranging from eye, nose and throat irritation to emphysema, asthma and chronic bronchitis.⁵,⁶ Smoke evacuation devices may capture up to 99% of smoke when placed one inch from the source.⁷

Tune into Let's Change the Air to hear from leading smoke evacuation advocates



“When you say surgical smoke, I think potential workplace safety issue. Nurses need clean air because we are human beings.”

Dr. Peter J. DiPasco

Dr. Peter J. DiPasco

"Surgical smoke literally changes the air in the room and may affect anyone in the OR. This is not a decision a surgeon should make without considering their staff."

Change is in the (OR) air with Ethicon

Change is in the (OR) air with Ethicon

Ready to change the air? We're delivering important information, resources and guides straight to your inbox to help you implement smoke evacuation in your OR.

professional female spokesman on stage

Live and Virtual Programs for OR Smoke Evacuation

Ethicon offers three Continuing Education courses that credentialed Ethicon representatives deliver to your staff, FREE. Each course is certified by the California Board of Nursing for one contact hour.

Course 1 – Basics of Electrosurgery 2
Course 2 – Preventing Surgical Fires
Course 3 – Understanding Surgical Smoke Plume

Flexibility to improve smoke evacuation in the OR

Tools to improve smoke evacuation in the OR

Commonly used tools may not be effective in clearing smoke from the OR. Wall suction, for example, may be ineffective at removing smoke directly where it is generated, and surgical masks may not filter many substances from surgical smoke. Different smoke evacuation methods are necessary to improve safety in the OR.⁸,

Ethicon supports your goals of the Quadruple Aim

Ethicon supports your goals of the Quadruple Aim

Smoke evacuation devices are part of the broad ETHICON portfolio to help support your work to achieve the Quadruple Aim.

henry ford wyandotte hospital and mercy medical center

Smoke Evacuation Success Stories

Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital reached 93% smoke evacuation compliance after just four months. Learn the steps that Tiffany Tscherne, HFWH Regional Director for Surgical Services and Trauma, took to accomplish this for her facility.

Mercy Medical Center reached 95% smoke evacuation compliance in just over a year. See how key resources and dedicated support from Ethicon helped surgical staff champion smoke evacuation in their OR.


1. Memon AG, Naeem Z, Zaman A, Zahid F (2016) Occupational health related concerns among surgeons. Int J Health Sci 10 (2): 279-291.

2. Pierce JS, Lacey SE, Lippert JF, Lopez R, Franke JE (2011) Laser-generated air contaminants from medical laser applications: a state-of-the science review of exposure characterization, health effects, and control. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 8 (7): 447-466.

3. Beebe DS, Swica H, Carlson N, Palahniuk RJ, Goodale RL (1993) High levels of carbon monoxide are produced by electro-cautery of tissue during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Anesth Analg 77 (2): 338-341.

4. Barrett WL, Garber SM (2003) Surgical smoke: a review of the literature. Is this just a lot of hot air? Surg Endosc 17 (6): 979-987.

5. Okoshi K, Kobayashi K, Kinoshita K, Tomizawa Y, Hasegawa S et al. (2015) Health risks associated with exposure to surgical smoke for surgeons and operation room personnel. Surg Today 45 (8): 957-965.

6. Prevention CfDCa (Web Page) NIOSH Study finds Healthcare Workers’ Exposure to Surgical Smoke Still Common. Updated November 3, 2015. Available online at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-11-03-15.html. Accessed: November 5, 2018

7. Schultz L (2014) An analysis of surgical smoke plume components, capture, and evacuation. AORN journal 99 (2): 289-298.

8. Hill DS, O’Neill JK, Powell RJ, Oliver DW (2012) Surgical smoke - a health hazard in the operating theatre: a study to quantify exposure and a survey of the use of smoke extractor systems in UK plastic surgery units. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 65 (7): 911-916.

9. Ulmer BC (2008) The hazards of surgical smoke. AORN J 87 (4): 721-734; quiz 735-728.

10. ESP Award Winners: Surgical Instruments Category- 3/23/16.

11. Captures and filters 99.999% of particulates and microorganisms 0.1 to 0.2 microns, at 50 +/- 10 dBa per IEC 60601-1 @ 1m.