Influence of surgical smoke on indoor air quality in hospital operating rooms

Dong Hee Choi, Seock Hwan Choi, Dong Hwa Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to analyze the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the surgical smoke generated during laparoscopic surgery, and determine their influence on the indoor air quality in hospital operating rooms (ORs). Field measurements were carried out during eight surgeries in conventional and robotic ORs in which an electrosurgery system was being used, thus continuously generating surgical smoke. The VOCs were measured at three different locations, in the patients’ abdominal cavities, beside the surgical table, and at the exhaust vent. Other indoor pollutants including carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and total airborne bacteria (TAB) in the indoor air were measured at the exhaust to assess the general indoor air quality in the ORs. The results from the patients’ abdominal cavities confirmed that the surgical smoke contained abundant VOCs, with the levels of benzene and toluene exceeding the health guidelines. Compared to the results obtained in the abdominal cavity, the measurements obtained at the surgical table and exhaust vent exhibited low levels of VOCs, indicating that the actual exposure to these compounds was minimized in a highly-ventilated operating room. However, the benzene concentration in the operating room approached a level that threatens the health of the occupants. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that there is a potential health risk to the surgeon who is closest to the point of origin of the surgical gas, as well as a need for further attention to identify the local pollutant dispersion near the surgical table while the ventilation system is operating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Hospital operating room
  • IAQ
  • Surgical smoke
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)


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