Effects of Reflected CO2 Laser Energy on Operative Field Materials: Risks to Patients and Operating Room Personnel

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This study investigates the effects of specularly and diffusely reflected CO2 laser energy on operative field materials. The CO2 laser was reflected off the sandblasted and polished surfaces of an eyelid plate and a wet cotton gauze pad. The laser was aimed at a surgical glove, operative gown, laser safety goggles, and endotracheal tube, each positioned 5 cm, 10 cm, and 15 cm from the plate. Primary outcomes were time to initial effect and description of result. There was no reflection off wet gauze and no effect on the gauze itself. When reflected off sandblasted and polished surfaces, the laser created a hole in the glove and a flame in the surgical gown. When targeting safety goggles and an endotracheal tube, the laser created a surface divot at short distances and surface irregularity at 15 cm. While the CO2 laser is an excellent surgical instrument, reflected laser energy can affect operative field materials.

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