Viable pathogen aerosols produced during laser dermatology surgery - a quantified analysis

The use of laser processes for surgical, medical and cosmetic procedures has been increasing with five hundred thousand workers exposed to laser surgical smoke per year. The use of lasers introduces direct beam hazards into the environment but also generates unique hazards such as material ejected from the laser process. Within this material can be potentially harmful particulate when inhaled by humans, accompanying this particulate is a foul unwanted odour. Along with the generation of these particles it is extremely possible for viable biological organisms to be generated with the particulate. Airborne particulate matter or bio-aerosols are not just a hazard to the patient, but also to other people in the environment around the laser process. The aim of this paper is to investigate and quantify the aerosol danger to both patients and operators when utilising lasers within surgical procedures, while suggesting a suitable initial solution. The tailored research for this aim will focus on whether a suitable extraction system can be developed and the effects that different types of lasers have on the size and visuals of any particulate generated. To determine whether there is a risk of infection and to ascertain the level of infection control, the possibility of viable bio-aerosols being detected after a laser process should be considered. The experiments are split into 3 sections; section 1 is the testing of the extraction system using a smoke generation system to ascertain visual proof of a functioning extraction system, section 2 is the testing of the effect of laser irradiance on the tissue simulant to determine the effect of varying laser types on the particulate generated and section 3 is the generation and measurement of bio-aerosols with the use of bio markers to test for survival of laser processing and transmission.