Electrosurgery uses energy to destroy tissue creating a gaseous byproduct referred to as surgical smoke or plume. This smoke can contain viable cells and viruses; specifically, human papillomavirus has been demonstrated in this smoke. Human papillomavirus in smoke does pose a risk of infection, with animal studies showing virus transmission between individuals via a surgical smoke plume. Approximately half of the United States population carries the genital form of this virus. This led the authors to question whether or not respiratory protection should be used in all anorectal operations that generate smoke.
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, Post Acceptance: May 18, 2020