Effects of Smoking on Your Surgery

By: Sara Mendez

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.

Certain protocols must be followed to insure the patient's safety during surgery. Patients are often told food or water twelve hours before and to take a shower to minimize the risk of infection. For smokers there are other requirements. Many are instructed to cease smoking for at least two weeks before and two weeks after. Some surgeons may even ask the patient for as long as four weeks before and after the surgery to avoid as many complications as possible.

According to Anesthesiologyinfo.com, smoking does two things to the cardiovascular system which causes many problems for the anesthesiologist and surgeon. By smoking the patient is increasing the carbon monoxide which attaches to the hemoglobin in the blood which will decrease oxygen in the blood. Nicotine will increase the amount of oxygen the body needs putting a stress on the heart and body. The heart will not function properly because of the increased carbon monoxide and blood will not get where it needs to.

The lungs also prone to collapse because the small airways do not function as they should because of smoke and nicotine. Smoking causes more mucus production and the lungs are not able to clear it as quickly as they should, 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 to do is talk with your physician and discuss your options and find out which plan will suit you best. Since there are many choices and options available to help you quit, there can be no more excuses. Do not wait until you need major surgery before trying to quit, quit before you get there.

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