Smoking affects surgical outcomes
Smoking in the days and weeks before surgery can lead to complications and worse outcomes for many surgical procedures.
In a recent review published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, researchers from the University of California and Yale University examined surgical reports to determine the impact of active smoking on surgical outcomes.
The researchers found strong evidence linking smoking to complications experienced during surgical operations. On the basis of their findings — higher rates of intraoperative blood loss, greater need for intraoperative transfusions, higher rates of postoperative complications, and, in some patients with cranial cancer, shorter survival times — the researchers concluded that there are strong reasons for surgeons, especially neurosurgeons, to urge their patients to quit smoking prior to surgery and to encourage wider efforts to promote smoking cessation before surgical procedures.
For their study the researchers reviewed scientific literature related to tobacco use and neurosurgery for the time period 1950 through 2012.
In the paper the researchers describe evidence from clinical trials that show quitting smoking before surgery can lessen the risks of perioperative morbidity.
The researchers strongly encourage neurosurgeons to counsel their patients on preoperative smoke cessation. On a public policy level, the researchers urge neurosurgeons “to take the lead in catalysing constructive changes to minimise the impact of tobacco smoking in the perioperative setting.”