Smoking and surgery

If you are having surgery in the coming months, one of the most important things you can do before the procedure is to stop smoking. This is due to the fact that smokers are more likely to suffer complications during and following surgery than non smokers.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists advises smokers undergoing surgery to quit as far in advance of their surgery as possible, preferably a minimum of six weeks. A function of anaesthesia is to reduce coughing and spasms during surgery but because smokers’ lungs are aggravated by tobacco, these patients need a higher dose of anaesthesia than non-smokers. Tobacco smoke damages the cilia in the lungs, responsible for clearing mucus, which can increase the risk of post-operative pneumonia. Source: Smokefree South West

Still smoking following surgery?

  • you have a higher risk of lung and heart complications
  • you have higher risks of post-operative infection
  • you will have impaired wound healing
  • you will require longer hospital stays and higher drug doses
  • you are more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit
  • you will have increased risk of emergency readmission

Quitting smoking before surgery:

  • reduces the risk of postoperative complications
  • reduces lung, heart and wound-related complications
  • decreases wound healing time
  • reduces the average length of stay in hospital

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