How ASCs can handle surgical smoke

Surgical smoke, or the emissions caused by cauterization instruments and lasers used in operations, can present a risk to nurses and physicians working in operating rooms, according to The Joint Commission.

The smoke can cause headaches, sore throats and eye irritation, and studies have found it can be carcinogenic and contain live viruses and bacteria.

While a handful of states have passed legislation to limit surgical smoke in operating rooms, it can be difficult for smaller facilities such as ASCs to buy the equipment to get rid of it.

Three ways ASCs can address the issue of surgical smoke:

1. Share evidence. Discuss studies and legislation on the risks of surgical smoke exposure with ASC leaders and staff.

2. Work with other ASCs. Collaborate with other ASCs in the area on smoke evacuator costs, education, policies and processes.

3. Make a case. Discuss purchasing a smoke evacuation system for the ASC with business office staff, citing evidence-based research about its harms.

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