Smoking damages nearly every part of your body and increases your risk for certain complications during and after surgery. M. Kathryn Steiner, MD, a pulmonologist at NEBH, explains that by quitting smoking, you will not only reduce the likelihood of experiencing surgery-related complications, but also improve your overall health and even add years to your life.
Effects of Smoking and Surgery
Research has shown that compared to non-smokers, smokers who undergo total joint replacements have a higher rate of surgical site infections1, require early revisions where patients need to undergo additional surgery to replace original components2,3, experience lung and heart complications leading to longer hospital stays4, and have wounds that take longer to heal5. In addition, anesthesia is safer and more predictable in nonsmokers due to better functioning of the heart, blood vessels, lungs and nervous systems.
When Should I Stop Smoking?
The earlier you can stop smoking before your surgery, the more your risk for potential complications will be reduced. Studies have shown that quitting more than 8-10 weeks before your surgery is most effective in reducing complications6. It is important to note that it is especially important not to smoke on the day of your surgery, and even quitting for a brief period is beneficial.
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