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Effects of Smoking on Your Surgery

Jul 24, 2008
Quitting smoking is a task which smokers fear, however they know by quitting they will be healthier. Not only does smoking have an adverse effect on the body it can also cause many serious health problems such as heart disease, cancer and COPD. Both the smoker and their doctors should put tobacco secession at the top of their lists. Not only do doctors fear for their patients' health, they fear what will happen should their patient need surgery.

Surgery is something many patients will face at some point in their lives, whether elective or required. There are certain protocols in place for patients to follow before surgery such as no food twelve hours before surgery and nothing to drink. However, many physicians and anesthesiologists require their patients to quit smoking for at least two weeks before and after surgery.

According to Anesthesiologyinfo.com, smoking has many seriously concerning risks which can occur during surgery. Smoking increases carbon monoxide which attaches itself to hemoglobin in the blood, decreasing the amount of oxygen getting through the body. The nicotine will make the body need more oxygen which will put stress on the heart, lungs and body which is already under distress from the anesthesia. The heart will not function properly because of the increased carbon monoxide causing the blood to no circulate as it should.

With surgery, the body is under stress and therefore prone to infections, especially lung infections. However if you are a smoker, the lungs are even more susceptible to collapse. The small airways do not function as they should because of smoke and nicotine which makes them collapse. Mucus production increases because of smoking and the lungs are not able to clear it as quickly as they should because of anesthesia, making the patient more prone to serious lung infections such as pneumonia and chronic coughing. Bronchospsams and other infections in the lungs can be fatal and should be taken seriously. Smoking has been linked to dozens of other side effects, ranging from heart attacks to poor wound healing by as many as six times more in smokers versus non smokers.

Doctors want their patients to lead a healthier life and have a successful surgery, so generally surgeons and physicians ask their patients to quit for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Many surgeons have asked for as many as four weeks before and after to insure their patients are fit for surgery. However, ideally physicians and surgeons want their patients to make smoking secession a top priority.

Over the years, quitting has become easier. This is mainly attributed to more easily available treatments. Some of the most common treatments are found over the counter, such as the nicotine patch and gum. Some patients choose to try homeopathic treatments such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and hypnosis. Prescription drugs such as Zyban and Wellbutrin have gained popularity as well. Often treatments are combined so the patient can be as successful as possible.

The most important thing is to discuss with your physician to discuss your options and find out which plan will suit you best. There are many choices and options available to help you quit, the time is now. Do not wait until you need major surgery before trying to quit, quit before you get there.
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