Does Smoking Cause Problems After Surgery?

While it’s a generally accepted fact that smoking is bad for you and can cause a variety of health issues, many people are not aware that smoking during recovery from surgery can actually have an affect on how the patient heals and recovers.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, patients who are smokers and undergo any level of spinal surgery for any condition have been found to have worse outcome and more frequent complications following surgery than their non-smoking peers. In fact, a study of patients treated for spinal stenosis reported that smokers saw less improvement in their post-op walking ability and more regular use of pain medications that those who were non-smokers. Spinal surgery wasn’t the only discipline that saw negative outcomes post-op in smokers; total joint replacement, surgeries of the hand or foot, ligament and/or cartilage repair, and fracture healing have all been seen to be negatively impacted in the healing and post-operative cycle by smoking.

Further, studies have shown that not only does smoking negatively affect the overall outcome of surgeries, but smoking has been shown to have a correlation to the development of spinal conditions that eventually require surgery. At the 2001 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, study results were reported that showed that the main cause of low back pain is damage to the vascular structures of the discs and joints – and it is a known fact that smoking causes vascular damage.

While long-term and widespread research trials have not been performed, there is abundant evidence in the studies that have been executed as well as anecdotally in clinical settings that smokers fare worse following surgery than those who do no smoke. At Specialty Surgical Center in Sparta, New Jersey, the surgical team is dedicated to helping patient live better, healthier lives, and that includes quitting smoking as soon as possible and educating on the possible complications that may accompany rehabilitation after surgery due to smoking.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.

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