In recent years, minimally invasive surgical techniques such as laparoscopy, use heat or ultrasound in order to cauterize or cut through tissue. However, during these procedures, surgical smoke is produced and then released into the atmosphere of the operating room.
These smokes are made up of 95% water or steam and 5% cellular debris composed of chemicals, and bio-constituents such as blood and tissues particles, viruses, and bacteria. The concentration of the cellular debris varies according to the technique used and the tissue on which the surgeon intervenes.
Among these components, we can find many volatile organic compounds (VOC) including aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, or xylenes.
Moreover, pollutants that are produced by the action of burning tissues can be found in the smoke. These include carbon oxides (O2 and CO2), sulphur and nitrogen oxides, and ammonia.
On the other hand, quantitative analyses have confirmed the presence of biological pollutants of several kind:
- Cellular debris (intact cells or cell fragments), blood cells, and viral DNA fragments
- Bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis, staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Viruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).