Considerations for environmentally sustainable head and neck surgical oncology practice

Am J Otolaryngol. Nov-Dec 2020;41(6):102719. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2020.102719. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the potential role of head and neck oncologic surgeons in environmental protection, sustainability of health-care systems and avoidance of procedures contributing to climate change in the future.

Review methods: This literature review searched for relevant literature about the relevance of waste in surgical head and neck oncology practice and the innovative alternatives to decrease its effect on environment.

Conclusions: Head and neck oncologic surgeons have a role in environmental protection, sustainability of health-care systems and avoidance of procedures contributing to climate change in the future. However, there exist only limited data on waste management and other procedures in surgical oncology to promote these practices.

Implications for practice: By increasing awareness of the corresponding issues of waste production within the healthcare environment, head and neck surgeons can have a pioneering role in considering how to reduce, recycle and reuse in a more efficient manner. As research in this field accumulates, healthcare providers can engage both managers and clinicians in this process. It remains imperative to provide these professionals opportunities for their work force to rethink current practices in a manner that prioritizes environmentally sustainable head and neck surgical practices.

Keywords: Head and neck; Oncology; Recycling; Surgery; Waste management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Equipment Reuse
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Medical Waste / prevention & control*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Recycling
  • Surgeons*
  • Surgical Oncology*
  • Waste Management*

Substances

  • Medical Waste