An article written by Nascent Surgical CEO, Dr. Leonard Schultz, was published in the July 2015 issue of the AORN Journal.
Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 7–14, July 2015
Leonard Schultz, MD, FACS
Preventing surgical site infections requires knowledge of the sources of wound contamination. One possible source of wound contamination is bacteria aerosolized in diathermy plume (ie, surgical smoke). This study used an experimental model of porcine tissue embedded with Serratia marcescens to determine the extent of viable bacteria present in surgical plume. The results showed that only blended current electrosurgery, not laser plume or coagulation electrosurgery, contains viable bacteria. Further, the study revealed that placing a suction device near the electrosurgical site reduced the number of aerosolized viable bacteria. Therefore, evacuating the electrosurgical plume may help reduce contamination of the surgical wound. Nurses may wish to advocate for the use of air suction devices as one way to protect patients from surgical site infections.