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Benefits of Quitting Smoking Before Surgery

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Patients who stop smoking at least 4 weeks before surgery have fewer problems (health complications) and heal faster than those who continue to smoke.

Quitting smoking can make a huge difference in your health and recovery from surgery. In fact, the longer you stop smoking before surgery, the better your chances of a healthy recovery!

If you quit smoking before surgery, research suggests that you will:

  • Reduce your risk of after-surgery complications (problems)
  • Reduce your risk of infections
  • Heal quicker
  • Spend less time in the hospital after surgery

3 reasons smoking and surgery are a bad combination:

  1. It complicates anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have to work harder to keep smokers breathing while under anesthesia, fighting against lungs compromised by cigarette smoke. That makes it more likely that additional medications like albuterol must be used.
  2. The heart must work harder. Smoking compromises heart function, putting a patient at a greater risk for heart problems during or after surgery. That same study found smokers had a 77% greater risk of heart attack after surgery than nonsmokers.
  3. Wounds take longer to heal. Carbon monoxide in a smoker’s body robs tissues of the oxygen (air) that the tissue needs to heal.