Smoking & Spine Surgery

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 26, 2014

smoking before surgeryWith surgical patients who smoke regularly, the surgery team needs to take special precautions to reduce the risk of surgical complications. In this post we are going to dive into the effects smoking can have on surgery and explain why patients are required to cease smoking prior to most surgical procedures.

The Impact of Smoking on Surgery

There are a multitude of reasons why you should stop smoking for your health. We’re not going to get into those reasons here (you’ve probably heard them all already). Instead we are going to discuss the impact smoking can have on a patient’s body before, during, and after surgery.

The bottom line is that smoking increases the risk of complications surrounding your surgery. Smoking restricts the flow of oxygen and blood in the body. Blood flow is essential to the body’s natural healing process after surgery. If you decrease your body’s ability to carry blood and oxygen to the surgical site, recovery will take longer than normal. This is also true of bone growth, which is important if you have spinal fusion surgery.

How Long to Quit?

After patients hear that they should quit smoking prior to their surgery, their next question is typically “how long before surgery should I stop smoking?” There is no hard and fast rule for this. Certainly, you should not smoke on the day of your surgery, or the day before surgery. The longer you quit, the less likely you will face surgical complications.

Anesthesia & Other Factors

Smoking can also impact the effectiveness of anesthesia on the body. A smoker’s lungs, heart, and central nervous system generally do not function as well as those of a non-smoker. This, in turn, can impact anesthesia. It’s important that you tell your anesthesiologist about your smoking habits so they can administer the appropriate level of anesthetic.

If you need help to quit smoking, visit these resources:

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