To reduce surgical complications and improve recovery rates, people who smoke are encouraged to have at least one appointment with our Stop Smoking service.
In some neighbouring counties – people who decline to have a stop smoking appointment may be refused surgery. This is not enforced in Suffolk at the moment.
If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, you are six times more likely to have post-operative breathing problems. This risk increases the more you smoke and for the length of time you have smoked. There are several reasons for this:
- Smokers require more anaesthesia for all surgeries
- Smokers have a higher chance of chest infections after surgery
- Smokers have slower wound healing
- Smokers have less oxygen to help aid in healing
- Nicotine causes issues in the healing process
The sooner you stop before your op, the better!
Stopping smoking at least 8 weeks before surgery can reduce your risk of various complications. If you smoke, you have a 1 in 3 risk of post-operative breathing problems. This can be reduced to 1 in 10 if you stop smoking 8 weeks before your op.
Benefits of stopping smoking before surgery:
- Reduced risk of complications after surgery
- Reduced risk of heart and lung complications
- Decreased wound healing time
- Increased rate of bone healing
- Reduced risk of postoperative infection
- Your length in the hospital may be shorter
- You’re less likely to die in a hospital
- Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, et al. (2004) Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ; 328:1519.
- National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2019) Smoking cessation in secondary care: NICE pathway. Available from: https://pathways.nice.org.uk/ pathways/smoking-cessation-in-secondary-care
- Silverstein P. (1992) Smoking and wound healing. American Journal of Medicine ;93:22S–24S
- Sorensen LT. Wound healing and infection in surgery: the pathophysiological impact of smoking, smoking cessation, and nicotine replacement therapy: a systematic review. Ann Surg. 2012;255(6):1069–79
- Warner DO. (2006) Perioperative abstinence from cigarettes: physiologic and clinical consequences. Anesthesiology;104(2):356–67.
- Yoong SL, Tursan d’Espaignet E, Wiggers J, et al. (2020) WHO tobacco knowledge summaries: tobacco and postsurgical outcomes. Geneva: World Health Organization