Smoking, for some people, is a way to help calm their nerves. However, if you’re scheduled for surgery, especially bariatric surgery, you may want to find a better way to manage your nervousness other than smoking. Learn more about smoking and why you should quit smoking before your scheduled procedure from the specialists at Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville, TN.

Here’s what happens when you smoke and why we recommend our bariatric patients quit it before surgery:

When you smoke, the amount of oxygen available in your blood decreases while the amount of carbon monoxide and nicotine increases.

Oxygen is vital for wound healing. If there’s not enough oxygen reaching the tissues, there can be a delayed wound healing.

Nicotine can also make your heart work harder. It’s partly because it raises blood pressure and increases the heart rate. Anesthetics and the surgery themselves can add a greater strain on both circulation and oxygen supply, so it can be worse for people who smoke.

There are chemicals found in cigarettes that can increase the amount of inflammation or swelling all throughout the body. After surgery, the potential inflammation can be worse for people who smoke.

Lastly, when you smoke, you cause your cells to lose some of their infection-fighting power, which increases your chances of infection after surgery. Post-surgical infections can further delay wound healing, which may end up in a longer hospital stay or another surgery.

Quitting before surgery
Studies show that quitting smoking even only a short time before surgery can increase the amount of oxygen found in the body. The sooner you quit smoking, the better is the outcome (lung function starts to improve after 2 months of quitting).

In fact, in one study, bariatric patients who quit smoking 4 weeks before surgery had significantly reduced their complication rate from 28 to 9 percent. They’ve also been shown to have an improved lung capacity.

Quitting smoking can be easier said than done, especially before a stressful event. However, there are different methods that can help you succeed in it.

There’s nicotine replacement therapy which helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking. This therapy may involve the use of a nicotine patch or nicotine chewing gum.

Another option is contacting a national helpline. These helplines assist people who are struggling with substance abuse or addiction. 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a toll-free number operated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Call this number to be connected to your state’s tobacco quitline.

We are here for you every step of the way during your weight loss journey. Our team at Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville, TN, wants you to have the best possible outcome, that’s why we require our patients to stop smoking before surgery and stay smoke-free afterward.

.Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. Foothills is affiliated with the Fort Sanders Regional Center for Bariatric Surgery, part of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.