Four reasons to quit smoking before surgery
Here’s another good reason to quit smoking, especially if you have surgery planned. Did you know that 52 per cent of smokers experience post-operative problems and are more at risk of infections and complications?
“Part of my job as an anesthesiologist is to ensure patients are in the best possible condition before surgery, and I feel it’s an uphill battle with smokers,” explains Anesthesiologist Dr. John Oyston, of The Scarborough Hospital. “I am tired of seeing patients cough and sputter in the recovery room and not do well during surgery.”
Dr. Oyston developed a ‘stop smoking for safer surgery’ plan to assist patients. He offers the following tips:
- It may be easier to quit smoking when you are having surgery because you are away from normal routines. While in hospital, you can get help to quit smoking from medical professionals, and the risk of withdrawal symptoms is less while in hospital;
- Choose a ‘quit day’ at least four weeks before surgery, and stop smoking on that day;
- If you have less than four weeks to prepare, you have at least eight hours to get rid of the carbon monoxide in your body. Since you are often told not to eat or drink eight hours before surgery, do the same with smoking;
- The risk to your heart is reduced by even a few hours of non-smoking, but it takes your lungs several weeks to improve after you stop smoking.
And remember: smoking is not allowed anywhere on the property at The Scarborough Hospital, and that includes staff, volunteers and patients.