Table 4

Studies comparing the prevalence of HPV infection or HPV-related disease between medical personnel exposed to surgical smoke and non-exposed controls

Study noAuthor/yearStudy designSample sizeFindings
1Lobraico 198846 Questionnaire-based study of the prevalence of HPV-related lesions in CO2 laser users.824 questionnaire responsesHPV-related lesions were reported by 26/824 (3.2%) of laser users, with lesions primarily on the hands, suggesting an association between use of the CO2 laser for the treatment of verrucous lesions and the development of such lesions by operators administering the treatment. No lesions were reported in the buccal mucosa or larynx. Responses indicated that acquired hand lesions were likely a result of direct contact with infected tissue during treatment rather than exposure to surgical smoke.
2Gloster 199547 Questionnaire-based study comparing the overall prevalence of warts between CO2 laser users and the general regional population, and comparing the anatomical location of warts between laser users and a patient clinic population being treated for warts.570 questionnaire responsesWarts were reported by 31/570 (5.4%) respondents. No significant difference was found between the overall prevalence of warts in CO2 laser surgeons and that in the control population. The prevalence of nasopharyngeal warts in CO2 laser surgeons was significantly higher than the prevalence in the control clinic population. No significant difference was found between operators who had warts and those who were wart free, on the basis of failure to use gloves, standard surgical masks, laser masks, smoke evacuators, eye protection, or full surgical gowns. The prevalence rates of surgeons with warts did not increase significantly with duration of exposure to surgical smoke.
3Kofoed 201548 Oral rinse and nasal swabs collected from dermato-venerology and gynaecology employees were tested for the presence of HPV using a PCR assay, and results correlated with history of HPV-related disease and exposures.287 medical personnelPerforming CO2 laser ablation or electrosurgical treatment of genital warts, or LEEP of cervical dysplasia did not significantly increase the prevalence of nasal or oral HPV in medical personnel.
  • HPV, human papillomavirus; CO2, carbon dioxide; LEEP, loop electrosurgical excision procedure.