An article by a University of Huddersfield lecturer with long experience as an operating department practitioner aims to bolster the case for the use of devices that extract the fumes, reducing risk levels.
Lynda Dunn has published two articles in the Journal of Operating Department Practitioners called Diathermy smoke: a risk to perioperative practitioners? and Diathermy smoke: hazardous to health?
She analysed existing research which shows that 45 compounds have been detected in diathermy smoke. Nine are hazardous and four of them are carcinogens.
It is clear, argues the article, that the use of an extraction device in the operating theatre would be best practice. But until there is more conclusive evidence on the health risks of diathermy smoke, it will be difficult to procure legislation on the need to extract it from operating theatre air.