How Smoking Impacts Knee Replacement

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How Smoking Impacts Knee Replacement

It’s not secret to anyone that smoking is hazardous to one’s health even under the best of circumstances, but smoking has additional implications for patients who are to undergo total knee replacement surgery.  In addition to the standard risk of cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and various forms of cancer, smokers’ behavior affects recovery from knee surgery and can create risks during the operation itself.  First, smoking (even light smoking) puts a significant burden on the cardiopulmonary system, and this can cause problems and increase the risk of complications with the general anesthesia.  Additionally, smoking constructs the small blood vessels, and this is a major impediment to circulation to the body’s tissues.  Because of the constricted blood vessels, it is harder for the body to heal from the surgical wounds.  This not only makes healing the wound take longer than for a non-smoker, but it also can lead to an infection in the wound and prosthetic knee.  Smoking also makes it harder for people to exercise, and this will be a major disadvantage during physical therapy when the patient is already de-conditioned from surgery.  The patient’s hospital stay will likely be three to four days, and there is no smoking in or near the hospital.  Most hospitals are completely smoke free zones – even up to the curb.  Dr. Alani realizes that smoking is a serious addiction, and that quitting is extremely challenging task.  If kicking the smokes is not possible for the patient prior to surgery, making a significant cut down will still be of benefit.

 

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