Product Code: JLA_1_1_6

Rocco V. Lobraico
Michael J. Schifano
Kevin R. Brader
Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center, Wenske Laser Center, Chicago, Illinois

Recent experimental studies of airborne contaminants found in the carbon dioxide laser plume have raised questions as to the potential danger of serious viral transmission during laser procedures. These concerns originated from a study of the human papilloma wart virus that reported intact strands of the DNA virus in the laser plume during the ablation of verrucae with the carbon dioxide laser. However, the study did not demonstrate the viability of such viral remnants. Such viability is difficult to demonstrate due to the strict species specificity of the papilloma virus, thus precluding the possibility of transinfection of an animal model with human papilloma DNA. We have therefore conducted a retrospective study to explore both the incidence of acquired lesions among laser users and also the details predisposing to the development of such lesions. Although a small percentage of our respondents reported acquired lesions, the role of the laser plume as the primary source of such lesions is unlikely. It is our opinion that the majority of reported lesions were acquired through direct contact, and proper sterile technique would significantly reduce the transmission of human papilloma virus during therapeutic procedures.

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