The hazards of surgical smoke

AORN J. 2008 Apr;87(4):721-34; quiz 735-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2007.10.012.


Surgical smoke is a part of the environment during operative and invasive procedures. As lasers and electrosurgery have become commonplace, perioperative practitioners are at increased risk for health concerns associated with exposure to surgical smoke. Since the mid 1970s, the body of evidence documenting the hazardous components of surgical smoke has continued to grow. Despite the evidence and recommendations of a variety of organizations, there are no uniform requirements mandating surgical smoke evacuation. This article reviews current research to identify the potential health hazards as well as the current recommendations related to the filtration and evacuation of surgical smoke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Movements
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational* / adverse effects
  • Cautery
  • Diathermy
  • Electrosurgery
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Inhalation Exposure* / analysis
  • Inhalation Exposure* / prevention & control
  • Masks
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure* / prevention & control
  • Operating Room Nursing / organization & administration
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Particle Size
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoke* / adverse effects
  • Smoke* / analysis
  • Smoke* / prevention & control
  • Societies, Nursing / organization & administration
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Ventilation / methods*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Smoke