Why Do I Need to Quit Smoking Before Surgery?
Jun 29, 2018
If you require a surgical treatment, it is likely your doctor has advised you to quit smoking before the procedure can be completed. You are already aware that smoking is detrimental to your health, but you may not be aware how smoking can affect your surgery, especially if that surgery is located elsewhere, like your legs, spine, or back.
If your doctor has told you that you need to quit before they can perform a surgery, here is why.
The Healing Process Takes Longer
It has been proven that those who smoke take much longer to heal than those who don’t. When it comes to surgeries of the bone and joint, it will take the bones much longer to heal if you have smoke in your system. For surgeries such as spinal fusion, it will take longer for the bones to fuse together and can even cause complications that lead to an even longer healing process.
Risk for Infection or Fractures
When you smoke, you are decreasing the blood flow through your veins, which is essential in surgeries. Without proper blood flow, the areas affected by the surgery will take longer to heal, and can, in turn, cause fractures or serious infections. In addition to blood flow, smokers also have weakened immune systems, which can also cause infection post-surgery.
Affects the Breakdown of Prescriptions
With your body’s natural processes out of order, smokers often break down medicine differently than non-smokers. After surgery, your doctor is likely to prescribe you with something to either help the pain, help the healing process, or both, and if your body is unable to break down those medicines correctly, you may be in for extended pain or increased complications.
Higher Risk for Blood Clots
As mentioned, smokers have a decrease in blood flow through their veins. Surgery already puts patients at risk for blood clots, but it puts smokers at such a high risk, that many doctors will refuse to perform surgery on someone with smoke in their bloodstream. Blood clots can lead to complications during the surgery in addition to overall health problems, and even death, if not treated on time.
The Need for Additional Surgery
If you experience complications from the initial surgery or your body doesn’t respond well, you may need additional surgery. This can mean extended hospital stays, increased medical bills, and more stress and pain for the patient.
Whether your doctor advises you to quit altogether, or to abstain from cigarettes for a duration of time before and after the surgery, it’s important to understand how smoking can negatively affect your body during this time of need. For more information about smoking before spinal surgeries, call 1-844-201-1308 to speak with a patient navigator at Back Pain Centers today. The call is free and may be the best call you ever make for yourself!