Smoking & Surgery
Why do I have to quit smoking for my surgery?
All patients who are considering having surgery have this question.
There are two important reasons why it is recommended not to smoke around the time of a surgical procedure.
Using tobacco of any kind compromises your ability to fully heal properly. The nicotine that is in tobacco constricts the small blood vessels in skin, limiting the delivery of oxygen needed to heal the surgical site. This can have a significant negative impact on your overall results from surgery.
It’s important to note that smoking tobacco also introduces toxins other than nicotine into the body and bloodstream, which also impact healing adversely.
Since all tobacco has nicotine and toxins, even chewing tobacco causes these problems.
Necrosis (dead body tissue)
Skin that is inadequately supplied with oxygen because of low blood supply is at risk of tissue loss. Cells in such areas actually die. In some cases this causes delayed healing of the incision. In more extreme cases, large patches of nearby skin can lose oxygen supply which can create much more serious problems.
It is always best to sit down and discuss your smoking history with your physician. There may be different recommendations depending on what type of surgical procedure you are considering.
Most importantly—be honest with your physician. Sound decision-making is only possible when your physician is fully informed about you, which includes your use of tobacco.