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Cigarette Smoking Delays Ligament Healing

are two ways to do smoking studies in animal models," Sandell explains. "One looks only at a single component, like nicotine. The other way is to use a method like the one we employed that includes all of the toxins found in smoke. We think exposing the mice to cigarette smoke itself is most relevant because when people smoke, they don't get individual components. They get everything."

Sandell and Wright say their findings point to yet another reason smokers would do well to quit. "Many patients don't want to hear it, but these results suggest that smoking affects anyone who needs ligament-repair surgery." Wright says. "Many patients don't want to hear it, but these results suggest that smoking affects anyone who needs ligament-repair surgery." Wright says .

. "I counsel surgery patients to at least try to decrease smoking because, if nothing else, that will improve the healing of their surgical incisions. Quitting smoking is good health management regardless, but in patients having this kind of surgery, there are extra advantages."

Wright and Sandell are conducting more studies. Currently they are comparing mice exposed to smoke before MCL surgery to those exposed both before and after surgery to see whether ending smoking might assist ligament healing.

"Because ligament injuries usually occur suddenly, it's unlikely people will stop smoking until after their injury," Sandell says. "So we want to learn whether smoking cessation near the time of surgery might help reverse the healing delays we saw in this study."


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