Smoking and Surgery

May 10, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Even smokers know that there is a risk of developing serious cancers as a result of smoking.  However, what is not widely known is the serious and negative impact smoking has on the musculoskeletal system.  In particular smoking signficantly and adversely effects our ability to recover from injuires to the musculoskeleatal system.

It is well shown that the rates of poor bone healing of fractures is very signficantly higher in smokers.  More recently it has been shown that smoking also seriously impedes healing of "soft" tissues as well (ligaments, muscles, tendons).

Smokers not only suffer higher levels of pain for a similar injury in a non smoker but are also over-represented in patients who suffer from chronic pain syndromes (CRPS).  Furthermore treatment of chronic pain syndromes is made almost ineffective in patients who continue to smoke.

Smoking also affects not only the recovery from surgery (prolonged recovery) but also reduces the success rate of most orthopaedic surgical procedures.  In some areas the effect is so negative that often surgery is simply not an available option in smokers.  The success of many spinal surgical procedures, in particular, has been shown to be extremely negatively affected by smoking to the extent that many spinal surgeons will not offer treatment to smokers unless they can successfully quit smoking.

The good news is that quitting rates are much higher if patients have an immediate incentive to quit.  Most don't worry about the cance that may happen in 40 years time but if it means that there is a good chance of getting rid of their back pain success is much easier to come by.

At Amesbury Orthopaedics we strongly encourage patients to quit smoking as the first and often most effective way in recovering from their injuries.  

Don't hesitate to contact your family practitioner who can help you quit through a number of very effective programmes.

Category: News Items


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