The effectiveness of a smoke evacuation system used for laser surgery was assessed. A 30 watt medical carbon-dioxide continuous wave laser was used to make incisions in a pork chop to simulate smoke production during laser surgery. A commercially available smoke evacuation system was used to control the resultant smoke, the concentrations of which were measured at 6 inches and at 3 and 4 feet from the interaction site. The nozzle of the evacuator was positioned 2, 6 and 12 inches from the surgical site to measure the relative effectiveness of the control. Complete control of smoke was achieved when the nozzle was located at 2 inches, but significant amounts of smoke escaped when the nozzle was located at 6 and 12 inches. Suggestions for use of the smoke evacuation system and areas for further study were given. The authors conclude that nozzle distances of more than 2 inches are likely to expose personnel working near the interaction site to high smoke concentrations; they recommend pursuit of other emission control methods and efforts to reduce system noise.
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