Smokers who refrain from using tobacco during the six-week period following emergency surgery for an acute fracture heal more quickly and experience fewer complications than patients who continue to smoke during the healing process, according to a study published in the June 2010 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).
"Our results indicate that a smoking cessation intervention program during the first six weeks after acute fracture surgery decreases the risk of postoperative complications by nearly half," said Hans Nsell, MD, senior surgical consultant, Karolinska Institutet, Sdersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden.
While earlier research has clearly indicated refraining from smoking prior to surgery results in better healing and fewer postoperative complications, this multi-center, randomized study was the first to examine the effects of smoking cessation following surgery.
"Tobacco smoking is a major health and economic concern and also is known to have a significant negative effect on surgical outcomes," Dr. Nsell said. "The benefits of a smoking cessation program prior to elective surgery are well known, but there have not been any studies about the benefit of smoking cessation following emergency surgery. Our aim was to assess whether a smoking cessation program, started soon after hospitalization and continuing for six weeks following surgery, could reduce the number of postoperative complications."
In the study, conducted at three hospitals in Stockholm, daily smokers who underwent emergency surgery for an acute fracture were offered a smoking cessation program within two days of surgery, and then followed for six weeks.
Patients included in the program were offered one or two in-person meetings, in addition to regular telephone contact with a nurse trained in the cessation program. During the six-week follow-up, patients were encouraged not to smoke and free nicotine substitution was offered to those who needed it.
|Contact: Lauren Pearson|
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons