Surgical fire: principles, risk factors, and prevention

  • Paulo Renato de PaulaEmail author
  • Fabiano Calixto Fortes de Arruda
  • Marcelo Prado
  • Carlos Gustavo Neves
Short Communication

A surgical fire is potentially devastating for a patient and the best way to avoid its complications is through prevention. Although fires in the operating rooms (ORs) are rare events, they can quickly cause serious injury, disfigurement, and be fatal [1, 2, 3, 4].

According to the Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI), facial surgery is the second most common site of fire (tonsil is the first), and facial surgeons should be aware of potential risks of fire and explosions and how to manage injuries caused by them [5, 6].

This problem is of a similar order of magnitude as wrong-site surgery [7], and it is estimated that patients are harmed by 20% of the 550 to 700 operating room fires that are reported each year with more than 500 cases unreported or near misses [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], ranking as number 3 on the list of technology-related hazards in the hospital [16, 17, 18].

A US study found 17 to 20% of anesthetic malpractice claims are related to burns from surgical fires [


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Patient consent

The patients have given full consent to participate in this study and for use of their photographs for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plastic Surgery UnitFederal University of GoiasGoianiaBrazil
  2. 2.Internship Program in Plastic Surgery, Teaching Hospital, Medical SchoolFederal University of GoiasGoianiaBrazil
  3. 3.Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia PlásticaSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.American Society of Plastic SurgeonsArlington HeightsUSA
  5. 5.International Society of Aesthetic Plastic SurgeryHanoverUSA
  6. 6.Residency Program in Plastic SurgeryFederal University of GoiasGoianiaBrazil
  7. 7.Burn Unit CareHospital de Urgencias Governador Otavio Lage de Siqueira (HUGOL)GoianiaBrazil
  8. 8.American Society for Aesthetic Plastic SurgeryGarden GroveUSA
  9. 9.Health SciencesFederal University of GoiasGoianiaBrazil

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