Quitting cigarettes before surgery can make big difference, study says

A person smoking a cigarette.
Photo credit Zhang Rong/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There is another good reason to quit smoking: If you are going to have a surgical procedure, kicking the habit can make a big difference. 

New data shows that after four weeks, every tobacco-free week improves blood flow throughout the body to essential organs and improves health outcomes after surgery by almost 20%.

In fact, the report provides evidence that there are advantages to postponing minor or non-emergency surgery to give patients the opportunity to quit smoking, resulting in a better health outcome.

The nicotine and carbon monoxide present in cigarettes can decrease oxygen levels and greatly increase the risk of heart-related complications after surgery.