Product Code: JLA_6_2_108

Douglas E. Ott
School of Engineering, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, and Georgia BioMedical, Inc., Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

A methodology to critically appraise and assess the efficiency and efficacy of filters used in smoke evacuation systems is proposed. Currently the methods for evaluation of laser smoke evacuation systems and filtering are fraught with inconsistency, and laced with innuendo and extraopolation. A variety of tissues including beef, chicken, pork, mouse and human have been described. Both carbon dioxide and ND:YAG lasers have been used. A wide range of power densities have been applied. Environmental conditions during the studies either have not been described, are unknown or were not considered as impacting the results. Length of time of thermal interaction was extremely variable. As a result, these studies have not offered or established a methodology of design or proposed a standard which would hold up under scientific scrutiny. The methodology presented uses known concentrations of individual chemical components of laser plume generated by aerosolization. Following precise scientific protocols a smoke/plume evacuation system was challenged. Test parameters evaluated include measurement of airflow, chemical concentration of the challenge analyte, and testing of chemical concentration of analyte prior to a subject filter and at the exit point. NIOSH protocols for chemical analysis by spectrophotometry were used. This methodology allows for standardization of the effects of a smoke/plume evacuation system that is scientifically reproducible and exact. The protocol then allows for comparison which is meaningful to establish system efficiency.

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