It is no secret that there are always some risks involved in surgery. Because of this, surgeons make sure that patients who are scheduled for it are thoroughly assessed and properly educated especially on the do’s and don’ts before, on the day, and after surgery. One of the most common topics a surgeon mentions before an operation is smoking.

Smoking and Surgery

If you’re a smoker and scheduled to undergo surgery, you will likely be advised by your surgeon or preoperative nurse to quit. This is because smoking can:

Complicate the administration of anesthesia

Smoking can complicate the administration of anesthesia. Because the lungs of smokers are compromised by their smoking habit, anesthesiologists have to work harder to keep the patient breathing while under anesthesia. In many cases, anesthesiologists have to use bronchodilators, or drugs to open airway passages, to make it happen.

Increase the chance of surgery-related complications

Studies have shown that smokers have a higher chance of surgery-related complications, like heart attack, shock, and even death, compared to nonsmokers. They are also at risk of getting pneumonia and are more likely to contract infections after surgery. Chemicals in cigarette smoke limit the activity of infection-fighting cells called neutrophils. These cells are responsible for getting rid of disease-causing microorganisms. When their activity is limited, infection could set in, requiring antibiotics or another surgery to get rid of it.

Delay wound healing

The air that we breathe has oxygen. Our body needs oxygen to perform certain functions and processes, including wound healing. Chemicals found in cigarettes can affect how the body handles oxygen. When exposed to cigarette smoke, hemoglobin, the tiny molecule responsible for carrying oxygen all throughout the body, could not carry as much oxygen as usual.

Smoking also affects the blood vessels, making them narrow and more difficult for hemoglobin to transport the oxygen in different tissues of the body. With less oxygen, it can take a while for the body to complete the healing process.

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking even days before surgery can make a difference. In one study on patients having coronary bypass surgery, researchers found that patients who stopped smoking for just one month before surgery had no more complications compared to patients who had never smoked.

Quitting smoking before your scheduled surgery can bring more oxygen to your cells and improve your blood flow, making it easier for your body to heal. The sooner you stop, the sooner your body’s defense against infection improves.

Premier Surgical in Knoxville is committed in providing you the best care possible before, during, and after surgery. We have experienced board-certified surgeons who have specialized knowledge and skills in different areas.