Smoking Before Surgery – Is It Ok?

We all know smoking is considered a bad habit and a threat to our overall health and those around us. It damages our organism in many ways, making it weak and more submissive to various diseases. It is unhealthy and harmful to our lungs, heart and cardiovascular system in general, our digestive tract, reproductive system and many more. Heavy smokers eventually get their skin and hair of a poor quality, as well. Smoking affects our brain; it endangers our health and distorts our appearance. In addition, it also damages others’ health, even if they are non-smokers.

Smoking is an addiction and lots of people who got aware of its dangers find extremely difficult to stop it. Even if they really want to do that and feel all the bad consequences of smoking they struggle with great effort to quit it.

Unfortunately, some people got seriously ill before they got aware they need to stop smoking. Smoking is an exhaust valve to reduce the stress, to put things simply. But,just as the case is with all vices, it will do us a great disservice and bring more complications.

Risks of smoking before surgery

Addictives find hard to stop smoking, even if they really need to. If you’re a smoker, you may wonder whether it is ok have a cigarette before some surgical procedure or not. The question is without cause, for sure, since smoking may reduce the stress and anxiety you could feel before any surgical procedure, no matter of the seriousness of the intervention.

However, you shouldn’t hope for positive answers. All medical experts would agree smoking before surgery is bad, dangerous and irresponsible.

  • Smoking and anesthesia

First and the most important reason to quit smoking before surgery is its effect on anesthesia. It complicates the surgery. Anesthesiologists are experts for your heart and lungs and they are responsible for overall patient’s health in operational room. They can easily tell if a patient is a smoker, for they need to work much harder to keep a person breathing under anesthetics. Cigarette smoke damages patient’s lungs and make breathing more difficult. Anesthesia also affects breathing, so the two combined make anesthesiology team to work really hard. Sometimes they would need to use bronchodilator medications to ease the breathing. It is of the most importance to inform your doctors if you are a smoker and you’re going on a surgery, in order to help them reduce risks of potential disaster.

  • Smoking and heart condition

Smoking badly affects our cardiovascular health and forces our heart to work much harder. It compromises its normal action and increases the risk of serious heart complications during the surgery or afterwards. Smoking increases the risk of heart attack in general. However, the percentage grows larger with smokers who had a surgical intervention. According to researches, there is even a 77% greater risk of heart failure after surgery in smokers, compared to people who’ve never had a cigarette.

  • Smoking and recovery

It is known smoking affects the ability of our body to normally heal after it gets wounded. Thanks to carbon monoxide in smokers’ blood, body tissues don’t get enough oxygen to normally heal. The toxins from cigarette smoke compromise recovery, because they also break into the tissues, making them weak. So, it is clear it would also affect the ability of our body to recover after surgical cuts and stitching.

Reasons to quit smoking before surgery

Surgery could be extremely good, if not inevitable reason to quit smoking. It is best you never get into such situation, but it that could be a sobering experience. If you quit it in appropriate time before your intervention, you’ll experience many benefits and may never return to smoking again. By stopping smoking before surgery, at least two months before it, you could greatly reduce risks of complications mentioned above.

If you stop smoking completely, your recovery after surgery will be faster and may not need intensive care, depending in the case. You’ll be home faster, because your body will be capable to heal wounds normally.

In addition, also depending on your particular case, you may not need further interventions.

When to quit?

According to medical studies, quitting smoking at least eight weeks before the intervention would be quite efficient. An ex-smokers’ body needs time to recover from the damage caused by toxins from cigarette smoke. The only way to be healthy again and recover your organism from the harm caused by carbon monoxide, nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes is to quit it completely.

While quitting is recommended to be undertaken weeks before the intervention, stopping short time before (a week, a day) won’t be dangerous and it could still reduce the rate of complications during and after surgery. It is the best to stop it permanently; if you return to smoking after the procedure, you could do even more harm to your health. It greatly influences the risks of complications, especially infections.

Also, it is not important how serious your surgery is. Even f you go to minimally invasive intervention, smoking will still badly affect the ability of your body to fully and normally recover.

Stay smoke-free

So it is the best you quit it on time and never return to smoking again. After the first twenty four hours free of cigarette smoke, dangerous chemicals such as nicotine and carbon monoxide would be gone from the body. After the first week, lungs start to recover and get rid of the mucus. After two weeks the throat and airways in lungs also return to healthy condition, becoming less sensitive. Therefore, there is a less risk of breathing complications. After three weeks of quitting, body tissues would also start to recover and develop their normal properties, so tissue healing ability gets improved.

After four weeks, smaller airways in lungs start to become more passable, so the breathing gets even easier. It would significantly improve after one week more and on. After six weeks lungs start to produce regular amount of mucus. In the last two weeks the body of an ex-smoker will be in far better condition and better prepared for the procedure. The immune system will work properly and protect the body from complications. The response of the organism to anesthetics would get improved.