Background and objective: With the increasing use of laser resurfacing, concerns have arisen about the biological hazards associated with the procedure. This study analyzed the potential bacterial and viral exposure to operating room personnel as a result of the laser smoke plume in CO2 laser resurfacing.
Study design/materials and methods: Thirteen consecutive patients underwent CO2 laser resurfacing. A HEPA filter in the smoke evacuator was used to collect specimens of the laser plume smoke for cultures. The study was controlled by a second filter exposed to room air.
Results: The 13 patients each had one bacterial, one viral, and one control culture (total, 39 specimens). In the control group, none of the 13 specimens had any growth. No viral growth has been found to date. Of 13 bacterial cultures, 5 resulted in growth of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus. Of these five positive specimens, one also had growth of Corynebacterium and one had growth of Neisseria.
Conclusion: The potential exists for operating personnel to be exposed to viable bacteria during laser resurfacing.