Smoking and Elective Surgery
Surgery, whether elective or required is something many will face at some point in their lives. Surgery is complicated and can have many side effects. Often the consent forms are numerous pages listing everything which could go wrong. Surgery is complicated enough without the added risks of smoking.
Surgery is something many patients will face at some point in their lives, whether elective or required. There are certain protocols in place for patients to follow before surgery such as no food twelve hours before surgery and nothing to drink. However, many physicians and anesthesiologists require their patients to quit smoking for at least two weeks before and after surgery.
According to Anesthesiologyinfo.com, smoking does two things to the cardiovascular system which causes many problems for the anesthesiologist and surgeon. By smoking the patient is increasing the carbon monoxide which attaches to the hemoglobin in the blood which will decrease oxygen in the blood. Nicotine will increase the amount of oxygen the body needs putting a stress on the heart and body. The heart will not function properly because of the increased carbon monoxide and blood will not get where it needs to.
Second, the lungs are more likely to collapse because smoke causes the small airways in the lungs to not function properly as well. Smoking makes more mucus which can leak into the lungs, making the lungs unable to clear it. Smokers are more prone to bronchospasms and lung infections which can be fatal. Smoking has been linked to dozens of side effects from heart attacks to poor wound healing in surgery patients, by as many as six times more.
A successful surgery is something all doctors wish for their patients. Doctors do not want their patient to have complications before, during or after surgery. This is why they ask for smokers to at least take a break before going under any anesthesia. Making smoking secession a top priority is something all patients should be doing, regardless if they are having surgery or not. The ultimate goal should be to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Quitting has become much easier over the years, mostly because of the availability of treatments. Some of the more common are over the counter, such as the nicotine patch and gum. Others choose to try homeopathic treatments such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and hypnosis. Prescription drugs such as Zyban and Wellbutrin have gained popularity as well. Often treatments are combined so the patient can be as successful as possible.
The most important thing to do is talk with your physician to discuss your options and find out which plan will suit you best. Since there are many choices and options available to help you quit, there can be no more excuses. Do not wait until you need major surgery before trying to quit, quit before you get there.
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