My doctor said I should quit smoking before he performs my surgery. Why is this so important?
Q: My doctor said I should quit smoking before he performs my surgery. Why is this so important?
A: It is widely known that there are general health risks associated with smoking, but research has shown that smokers are more likely to suffer surgical complications than nonsmokers. These complications include lung problems like pneumonia, and surgical wound related complications like delayed healing and infections. Cigarette smoke contains many chemicals and toxic products which can damage the cilia in the lungs, increasing the risk of pneumonia following surgery. Some toxins found in smoke can narrow the blood vessels in the body. This can lead to a decrease in oxygen to skin and tissues, delaying wound healing. Additionally, toxins may also inhibit the function of white blood cells, leading to a higher risk of post-operative wound infection.
The earlier you quit, the better your chances are of avoiding these surgery-related complications. You will see the greatest benefit if you quit six to eight weeks before your surgery. Patients need to abstain from smoking while in the hospital, so many surgery patients find that this is a great opportunity to quit for good. However, stopping smoking at any time prior to surgery can still be beneficial to you. Even if you don’t plan on stopping permanently, you should try to refrain from cigarettes for as long as possible after your operation. This will help you have the best possible results for your surgery.
Talk to your doctor or call the Pulmonary Department at Wooster Community Hospital at 330-263-8297 about getting help to quit. Your doctor can help connect you with the resources you may need to successfully quit smoking.