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Surgical plume and its associated hazards to perioperative staff

Surgical plume and its associated hazards to perioperative staff

An important part of our laser safety course for hospital staff is the management of plume, or surgical smoke. This new article by registered nurse Andrea Carrick is a comprehensive review of the current standards for practice and risk management and yet again, reinforces the need for anyone who uses a laser to have laser safety training. Bravura Education are the proud supporters of laser safety course scholarships for nurses who are members of ACORN.


Surgical plume poses a risk to perioperative nurses and the perioperative team as a whole, as well as the operative patient. Surgical plume contains various hazardous components which pose multiple health risks to the perioperative staff who are exposed to it.

Further research is required in order to definitively understand the risks to perioperative staff from long-term exposure to surgical plume and to advance current policies and procedures. The current practice standard on surgical plume management from the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) sets out methods of reducing these risks.

However, this standard’s utility in practice and barriers to its implementation lead to ongoing unnecessary plume exposure. Through adhering to current practice standards and educating perioperative nurses, the risks posed by surgical plume can be mitigated.

Thorough education on this topic will empower nurses to advocate for their safety and the safety of their patients, leading to the reduction of surgical plume exposure.

Carrick, Andrea J. (2023) "Surgical plume and its associated hazards to perioperative staff: A review of current standards for practice and risk management," Journal of Perioperative Nursing: Vol. 36 : Iss. 2 , Article 2.

Available at: This Discussion paper is brought to you for free and open access by Journal of Perioperative Nursing. 

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