Mitigation of Aerosols Generated During Rhinologic Surgery: A Pandemic-Era Cadaveric Simulation

Dhruv Sharma, Michael J. Ye, Vincent J. Campiti, Kolin E. Rubel, Thomas S. Higgins, Arthur W. Wu, Taha Z. Shipchandler, Michael W. Sim, Sarah J. Burgin, Elisa A. Illing, Jae Hong Park, Jonathan Y. Ting

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1 Scopus citations


© The Author(s) 2020. Objective: After significant restrictions initially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, otolaryngologists have begun resuming normal clinical practice. However, the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to health care workers through aerosolization and airborne transmission during rhinologic surgery remains incompletely characterized. The objective of this study was to quantify the number concentrations of aerosols generated during rhinologic surgery with and without interventions involving 3 passive suction devices. Study Design: Cadaver simulation. Setting: Dedicated surgical laboratory. Subjects and Methods: In a simulation of rhinologic procedures with and without different passive suction interventions, the concentrations of generated aerosols in the particle size range of 0.30 to 10.0 µm were quantified with an optical particle sizer. Results: Functional endoscopic sinus surgery with and without microdebrider, high-speed powered drilling, use of an ultrasonic aspirator, and electrocautery all produced statistically significant increases in concentrations of aerosols of various sizes (P <.05). Powered drilling, ultrasonic aspirator, and electrocautery generated the highest concentration of aerosols, predominantly submicroparticles <1 µm. All interventions with a suction device were effective in reducing aerosols, though the surgical smoke evacuation system was the most effective passive suction method in 2 of the 5 surgical conditions with statistical significance (P <.05). Conclusion: Significant aerosol concentrations were produced in the range of 0.30 to 10.0 µm during all rhinologic procedures in this cadaver simulation. Rhinologic surgery with a passive suction device results in significant mitigation of generated aerosols.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

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