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Lucky break: Quit smoking after fracture surgery for better healing
Date:6/1/2010

Up until this point, the belief was that you needed to stop smoking prior to surgery to gain any benefit," Dr. Nsell said. "It was surprising, and encouraging, to see that even stopping smoking following surgery for a period of time can offer significant benefits, including nearly a 50 percent reduction in wound complications.

"The smoking cessation program requires only about two to three hours of support from the nursing staff, which is significantly less time than would be required for the treatment of side effects such as poor wound healing which can occur as a side effect of smoking," he added.

Smoking inhibits circulation and lowers blood oxygen levels, which can affect short-term and long-term healing in several ways, including:

  • failure or delayed healing of bone, skin and other soft tissues; or
  • causing wound site infections.
"In elective surgery, smoking cessation can become part of a plan preoperatively to reduce risks during and after surgery," noted Dr. Nsell. "But with emergency surgery, such as acute fracture surgery, stopping smoking before surgery is not an option. Therefore, it's very encouraging to see that stopping smoking following surgery offers some of the same benefits as preoperative smoking cessation."

Dr. Nsell said he hopes the results of the study will encourage hospitals and clinics to begin offering smoking cessation programs routinely to patients undergoing emergency surgery. He also added that in Sweden, hospitals are required by The National Board of Health and Welfare to offer a smoking cessation program as an option to any patient undergoing surgery, whether planned or emergency.

"Other studies have shown that most individuals who smoke would like to quit," he noted. "Having a smoking cessation program available to all patients pre-surgery can serve as a motivator to get them to quit. Even though this intervention lasts for six weeks, it may be all that is needed to help patients quit fo
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Contact: Lauren Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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