Bovie smoke is the byproduct of high-heat electrical tools used to cut and cauterize skin and tissue during surgery. Exposure to surgical smoke is one of the largest unaddressed health hazards facing operating room staff and patients today.
Dr. Hedley, an orthopedic surgeon in Phoenix, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease in which lung tissue becomes thick and stiff, or scarred. He was hospitalized and fighting for his life prior to undergoing a lung transplant. He believes that surgical smoke likely contributed to his condition. Highly toxic, the smoke produced in an operating room every day can be equivalent to smoking 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes.
In the U.S. there are no federal regulations mandating the evacuation of surgical smoke. In June, 2018, Rhode Island was the first state to pass legislation requiring smoke evacuation. Hospital administrators, educators, and regulators have a responsibility to protect health care workers and patients by adapting technology that eliminates surgical smoke.