13 November 2009

Quit smoking before surgery

Fewer complications, speedier healing awaits ex-smokers, experts say.

Want to boost the odds that you'll thrive after surgery and avoid complications? The American Society of Anaesthesiologists has a recommendation: drop that butt.

Quitting smoking will make it more likely that you'll recover from an operation without anything going seriously wrong, the society says.

"Anaesthesiologists are the heart and lung specialists in the operating room, making sure our patients' vital functions are working properly," said Dr David O. Warner, who chairs the group's smoking cessation task force.

"Every year, we care for up to 10 million smokers in surgery. We see the immense toll that smoking takes on a person's body, but we also witness the tremendous benefits patients who stop smoking before surgery experience in their healing process."

The association suggests that surgery provides an ideal opportunity for someone to quit smoking altogether because surgery patients are told to stop for as long as possible before and after their operation.

Surgery-related reasons to quit, the group says, include:

  • You'll heal better after surgery. One study found that half of the people who continued smoking after surgery developed complications; the number fell to 20% among those who quit.
  • Hospitals are smoke-free, and it will be tough to leave to light up.
  • Within hours after you quit, your body will begin to heal. Within less than a day, the association says, blood flow throughout the body will get better, boosting the chances of avoiding complications from surgery.

Read more:
'Light' brand makes it tougher to quit


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