Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses how smoking tobacco can adversely affect surgery and healing from surgery. In this video Dr. Albright will tell you why.
Summary of video:
It is pretty much obvious that people know smoking is bad for them. It leads to cancer. It is amazing how many patients don’t recognize that. Smoking not only leads to lung cancer, but it also affects the heart, the brain, and the kidneys.
Nicotine constricts blood flow and when patients walk into a surgeon’s office, the surgeon can just tell from their skin that the patient is a smoker. Nicotine cuts down the blood flow to the skin so people look gray. When the skin looks unhealthy the surgeon is thinking their skin is not going to heal after surgery. When doing surgery on a smoker there is less bleeding. Nicotine constricts blood flow so patients don’t bleed well during surgery and that means they don’t heal as well after surgery and that results in more infections.
So smoking is a big deal for doctors who perform surgery. Sometimes doctors won’t do surgery if their patient continues to smoke. Particularly with a spine fusion. It’s been proven that nicotine hurts fusions. The back and the neck of smokers don’t fuse well after spine surgery and there are surgeons who won’t operate on smokers for that reason.
A patient should stopping smoking at least a month before surgery. This will help the patient heal quicker. The patient will not only heal quicker, but also heal better.
The sooner the nicotine is out of the body, the better.
If you would like more information on how smoking affects surgery, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.