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Product Code: ILSC2009_1205

Lasers in Medicine - Rules, Regulations, and Practices in Managing Laser Plume
Authors:
Dan Palmerton, Buffalo Filter; Buffalo NY USA
Joseph Lynch, Buffalo Filter; - NY USA
Presented at ILSC 2009

The use of lasers for medical and dental applications has grown significantly over the past two decades. Unfortunately, when any type of thermal or ablative instrument, such as laser energy, is applied to human tissue an unwanted by-product is produced which is commonly known as surgical smoke. Through many educational efforts and a number of published standards, it is well documented that surgical laser plume must be evacuated and filtered to protect healthcare workers and their patients from the biological, chemical, and physical contaminants that reside within this laser plume. A portion of this program will discuss some of the emerging international standards and Government regulations as they relate to the management of laser plume.
Despite the best efforts of Laser Safety Officers and other healthcare safety officials, adoption of plume evacuation in some areas remains relatively limited. This presentation will focus on the latest scientific information relating to the potential spread of infectious disease to healthcare workers and patients through the inhalation and exposure to the biological contents contained in laser plume. Over the past two decades, we have reached a greater comprehension as to what hazards exist with surgical smoke. These hazards have not necessarily changed; however, not unlike the learning process the international community went through relating to cigarette smoke, the hazards are better understood. The discussion will include ongoing research today and future ideas for further potential research.
Finally, as technology has advanced and proliferated within the medical and dental communities, so have smoke evacuation technologies. A quick synapses of the history of smoke evacuation will be provided including equipment designed for changing surgical practices. With specialty equipment uniquely engineered for LASIK, Laparoendoscopic, and aesthetic specialties, amongst others, smoke evacuation technology has evolved to become less invasive, more user friendly, and less costly.

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