Stop before your op!

Research shows that quitting smoking can reduce the chances of complications for people having surgery.

Having surgery is a challenge that many people face each year.  It can be scary, frustrating and a major disruption to your life – especially if there are any postoperative complications.  These complications can include fever, wound infection or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  The result is usually poorer surgical outcomes, longer hospital stays and slower or even incomplete recovery.

Numerous studies have shown that smoking up to the time of any surgery increases heart and breathing complications, impairs tissue healing, and is associated with more infections and other complications from surgery (Peters 2010). 

However, stopping smoking for even a short time prior to surgery leads to significant improvements in clinical outcomes.  For example, Sorensen et al. (2003) found a significant reduction in surgical site infections among smokers who had been quit for four weeks compared to continuing smokers.  In another study, Moller et al (2002) found the overall surgical complication rate was nearly 3 times lower among smokers assigned to smoking cessation support compared to those not assigned. The most significant effects of intervention were seen for wound-related complications (6 times lower rate in those assigned to smoking cessation support). 

For anyone wanting to kick the habit prior to surgery the first step should be to get the right advice and support. The Stop Smoking Service in Bracknell Forest (and the rest of Berkshire) has some of the highest quit success rates in the country.  People can help to quit in a range of venues across the area, where trained advisors offer a structured programme of support plus free nicotine replacement products to help with cravings. The service operates a dedicated ‘stop B4 Your Op’ programme designed to cater for those with surgery in the near future.  This service can include home visits or support over the telephone if quitters are finding it difficult to get about.

For more information just visit   - call 0800 622 6360 or text QUIT to 66777.

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