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Chemical composition of smoke produced by high-frequency electrosurgery in a closed gaseous environment

An in vitro study

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Abstract

Background: High-frequency (HF) electrocoagulation and cutting procedures produce smoke by high-temperature pyrolysis of tissues. As distinct from the experience of conventional surgery, electrosurgical smoke is produced in a closed gaseous environment during laparoscopic operations. As a result, toxic chemicals may be absorbed into the circulation. The effects of this absorption are not known. Furthermore, the chemical composition of electrosurgical smoke produced in an anoxic environment may be different from that produced in air.

Methods: Smoke was produced in vitro by HF electrocutting of fresh porcine liver in helium, CO2, and air-saturated closed environments. Smoke samples were collected and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Results: The chemical constituents of electrosurgical smoke produced in air, CO2, and helium were similar. To date, 21 chemicals, some highly toxic, have been identified in the electrosurgical smoke produced in a closed environment. These consist of hydrocarbons, nitriles, fatty acids, and phenols.

Conclusions: Electrosurgical smoke produced in a closed environment contains several toxic chemicals. The effects of these on cell viability, macrophage, and endothelial cell activation are not known but are being investigated. Meantime, measures to reduce smoke and evacuate it during endoscopic surgery are advisable.

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Received: 23 September 1997/Accepted: 3 December 1997

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Hensman, C., Baty, D., Willis, R. et al. Chemical composition of smoke produced by high-frequency electrosurgery in a closed gaseous environment . Surg Endosc 12, 1017–1019 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004649900771

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s004649900771

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