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Quitting Smoking before Surgery

We all know the dangers of smoking to our general health along with the definitive link between smoking and certain forms of cancer. Smoking also causes a host of breathing related issues that reduce our quality of life. What many smokers do not realize however, is that they must quit smoking several weeks before their surgical procedure to reduce the chance of negative side-effects.

Smoking causes a host of issues in the body, not least of which is a reduction of oxygen being absorbed into the bloodstream and reduces circulation in the form of constricted blood vessels. The very real concern, both during and after surgery, is that this constriction of the blood vessels will not allow for a smooth and complete recovery. Circulation is exceptionally important in warding off potential infections and any restriction in that regard can cause severe consequences. Generally speaking, for any surgical procedure, we recommend the patient quit smoking at least four weeks before the surgery. Under no circumstances should the patient smoke immediately before the procedure.

The human body begins to recovery from the ill effects of smoking within hours of quitting. Carbon monoxide begins to flush from the body and circulation begins to increase. The result of quitting is a smoother recovery with reduced risk of complications. While we cannot control a patient’s habits long into the future after surgery, we do hope that they continue their abstinence from smoking and allow their body to heal from their smoking habit.

That said, we do understand that quitting smoking is very difficult, however the consequences of smoking immediately before and after a surgical procedure are such that any possible action must be taken to eliminate smoking entirely. There are thousands of smoking cessation programs nationwide available to help.

Posted in: Before Surgery

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