Table 3

Studies looking at HPV contamination of medical personnel following exposure to surgical smoke

Study noAuthor/yearStudy designSample sizeFindings
1Ferenczy 199033 Samples were collected from the nasopharynx, eyelids and ears of the operating laser surgeon before and after performing CO2 laser treatment on 110 patients with anogenital condylomata or CIN, and were analysed for the presence of HPV DNA using a filter hybridisation technique.1 laser surgeonHPV DNA was not detected in any of the pretreatment or post-treatment session samples from the operating surgeon.
2Bergbrant 199443 Samples were collected from the nostrils, nasolabial folds and conjunctiva of the operating laser surgeons before and after performing CO2 laser treatment or electrocoagulation of HPV-related genital lesions, and were analysed for the presence of HPV DNA using PCR.79 samplesHPV DNA was detected in 7/79 pretreatment session operator samples and 15/79 post-treatment session operator samples.
3Weyandt 201138 Samples were collected from the glasses and nasolabial folds of the operating surgeon before and after performing multilayer APC of genital warts, and were analysed for the presence of HPV DNA using PCR.20 samplesHPV subtypes detected in the operator samples did not match the HPV subtypes in the corresponding tissue samples.
4Ilmarinen 201245 Samples were collected from the oral mucosa of OT staff before and after performing CO2 laser treatment of laryngeal papillomas or genital warts, and from the OT staff surgical masks and gloves post-treatment, and were analysed for the presence of HPV DNA using PCR.18 operatorsHPV DNA was detected 14/20 OT staff glove samples; with the HPV subtypes detected matching those in the corresponding tissue samples. HPV DNA was not detected in any of the oral mucosa or surgical mask samples from the OT staff.
5Zhou 201941 Samples were collected from the nasal epithelia of the operating surgeons before and after performing LEEP of HPV-associated CIN, and were analysed for the presence of HPV DNA using a combination of PCR and a flow fluorescence in situ hybridisation technique.134 operators, 94 wearing ordinary surgical masks and 40 wearing N95 particulate respiratorsHPV DNA was detected in the nasal epithelia of operating surgeons in 0/134 pre-treatment session samples and in 2/134 post-treatment session samples, with the HPV subtypes detected matching those detected in the corresponding tissue samples and surgical smoke. The operating surgeons in whom HPV was detected had worn ordinary surgical masks. The nasal epithelia of the operating surgeons subsequently tested negative for HPV DNA at 3 and 6 months, and remained negative at 24 month follow-up, with no evidence of HPV-induced disease.
  • APC, argon plasma coagulation; CIN, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; CO2, carbon dioxide; HPV, human papillomavirus; LEEP, loop electrosurgical excision procedure; OT, operating theatre.