There are many obvious health reasons to quit smoking this year – lung cancer, heart attacks and diabetes, to name a few. But if you’re facing hip or knee replacement surgery or have back pain from a spinal disorder, there are even more incentives to drop the habit for good.
Not only can smoking worsen back pain – and is a known risk factor for disc disease – it also affects the body’s ability to heal bones and wounds.
One recent study showed that smokers face a greater risk of needing revision surgery after a total knee replacement. They also had a “significantly higher” rate of medical complications such as: blood clots, anemia, cardiac problems and acute renal failure.
Another study, which looked at the effects of smoking on patients who needed hip surgery, found that the failure rate in smokers was 9.1 percent, compared to 3.4 percent in non-smokers.
“Patients who quit smoking before and during orthopaedic treatment have less pain than those who smoke, but also better outcomes,” a news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states.
To help smokers quit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, which aims to inspire current smokers to stop lighting up. In 2012, this campaign helped more than 100,000 people quit smoking.
At a smoking cessation forum for orthopaedic surgeons, many physicians urged their colleagues to strongly encourage patients to quit smoking before having any kind of surgery.
“Smoking is the most costly and most preventable risk factor in postoperative complications,” said Dr. David O. Warner, associate dean for clinical and translational science at Mayo Clinic.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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