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Quitting Smoking

It’s necessary for bariatric patients to undergo extensive preparations before having weight loss surgery. These preparatory steps include following a doctor-recommended diet, starting a walking program, having medical tests, and receiving patient education. If you’re a smoker, you’ll have to add quitting smoking to your list of tasks to complete. This is because smoking significantly raises the risk of complications from general anesthesia and the surgery itself. 

Health Risks During Surgery 

Smoking inhibits normal breathing capacity and lung function. It can also affect the way the body responds to anesthetic medications, making a patient either more or less susceptible to the drugs. Furthermore, smoking decreases oxygen saturation, increases carbon monoxide, and raises blood pressure. All of these effects mean that smokers are more likely than non-smokers to experience adverse complications from the general anesthesia used during bariatric surgery. Immediately after the surgery, smokers are more likely to require specialized care in the intensive care unit (ICU), and to have an extended hospital stay.  

Health Risks After Surgery 

The health risks don’t end once the patient leaves the hospital. Bariatric patients who smoke are far more likely to develop infections and have poor wound healing. They may need to be readmitted to the hospital because of serious complications. Additionally, smokers are at a high risk of blood clots after surgery, which can cause potentially fatal complications. 

Considerations for Quitting Smoking Before Surgery 

Ideally, bariatric patients will quit smoking at least one year before having surgery. According to Bariatric Times, patients who smoke within one year of the surgery are 1.5 times more likely to suffer a complication than non-smokers. However, it’s never too late to quit smoking. Note that cigarettes aren’t the only substance that can cause complications with the anesthesia and recovery. Anesthesiologists strongly advise patients to avoid smoking marijuana or taking any other illicit drugs before or after surgery. 

At Bariatric Care Centers, your safety and health are our highest priorities. Our bariatric surgeon in Houston will take every precaution to ensure that the surgery is as safe as possible for you, including explaining the benefits of quitting smoking, and the risks of continuing to smoke before and after the surgery. If you need obesity help, give us a call today at (713) 339-1353. 

Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles and videos. Every patient has individual needs and limitations that only their treating physicians can be aware of.