Fire Hazard

The CO2 wavelength will readily ignite drapes, gauze, clothing, curtains, and endotracheal tubes in the presence of more than 35% oxygen, especially if any concentration of nitrous oxide is also present. As most of these procedures are done under intravenous (IV) sedation, the endotracheal tube is usually not of concern. However, these patients are usually kept under deep sedation. If oxygen is administered by nasal canulla, it should be very clear whose responsibility it is to turn off the oxygen when the laser is in the ready mode. A number of large settlements have been awarded as a result of third-degree intranasal burns and resulting synechiae and contractions. Because of the high water absorbance by these wavelengths, wet towels and gauzes are protective against this hazard.

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