Is the ultrasonic scalpel recommended in head and neck surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic? A State-of-The Art Review
Background: Guidelines for ultrasonic devices use are imperative because infectious aerosols arising from airway procedures were a key etiologic factor in prior coronavirus outbreaks. This manuscript aims to summarize the available recommendations and the most relevant concepts about the use of ultrasonic scalpel during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Methods: Literature review of manuscripts with patients, animal models or in vitro studies where the ultrasonic scalpel was used and the plume produced was analyzed in a quantitative and/ or qualitative way. Discussion: Activated devices with tissue produces a biphasic bioaerosol composed (size 68.3 - 994 nm) of tissue particles, blood, intact and no viable cells, and carcinogenic or irritant hydrocarbons (benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, heptene, and methylpropene). Conclusion: It is imperative to use an active smoke evacuator, to avoid ultrasonic scalpel use in COVID-19 positive patients and in upper airway surgery, as well as to follow the protection recommendations of the guidelines for management this type of patients.