Quit Smoking Before Surgery

Orthopaedic surgery can correct anatomical problems that cause symptoms like shoulder pain or hip pain. But surgery is not without its inherent risks, and smoking can contribute to those risks. Orthopaedic surgeons prefer that their patients quit smoking before having a procedure for their own safety and well-being.

The Risks of Smoking Before Surgery

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals. Some of them affect the cardiovascular system, such as by increasing heart rate and elevating blood pressure. These chemicals can also negatively affect respiratory function, particularly when the smoker is under general anesthesia for surgery. It’s also possible for smoking to affect the metabolism of the drugs used during surgery, such as muscle relaxants.

The Risks of Smoking After Surgery

The risks of smoking don’t end after the patient comes out of general anesthesia. After surgery, smokers are at a significantly higher risk of heart attack compared to non-smokers. Another risk pertains to the healing of the surgical incision. Healthy blood circulation is essential for healing because it brings oxygen to the wound site. But smoking robs the body of oxygen . Instead, the carbon monoxide and the toxins in cigarettes can both jeopardize the ability of the tissues to heal. Plus, smokers are at a higher risk of post-surgical infections.

The Steps You Can Take to Quit

The good news is that the body begins to heal itself within hours of quitting. If a patient quits smoking as late as the day before having orthopaedic surgery, this can help manage health risks. Many people use their upcoming surgery as motivation to finally kick the habit. You don’t have to quit alone. Talk to your primary care doctor about local resources you can use, such as support groups and counselors. If you decide to try prescription medication to quit smoking, your orthopaedic surgeon will need to know about this change in your drug regimen. Always inform the anesthesiologist if you’ve had nicotine from any source—including nicotine patches or gum. Nicotine affects your cardiovascular system even in the absence of cigarette smoke.

The entire team at MK Orthopaedics is committed to upholding the highest standards of patient care and safety. Our orthopaedic surgeons near Joliet will walk you through your pre- and post-operative instructions, and are available to answer any questions about your upcoming surgery. Call (815) 741-6900.

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