Did you know 19% of all adults in Great Britain smoke? That is just under 1 in every 5 people. 20% of all adult men and 17% of women smoke. This makes a total of 9.6 million smokers in Great Britain! Smoking is a very bad and unhealthy habit. It has been known to cause cancer, decay lungs and cause people to age quicker. Little did everyone know smoking has a negative effect on healing after undertaking a surgical procedure.
Before we explain what smoking does to healing we thought we should let you know what it does to your body in general. Smoking impacts your:
As you know the air we breathe is filled with oxygen, the oxygen is needed to allow us to function. However, smoking changes the way our body handles oxygen. It causes your blood vessels to become narrow making it harder for oxygen to pass through them, also making it difficult for oxygen to get to the tissue which needs it.
It also causes blood to thicken, this means it will not flow as easily, especially to the wounded areas. This will cause the wounds to heal a lot slower.
Smoking also makes it very hard for your body to fight off infections after surgery. This is because the chemicals in cigarettes limit the cells which fight off infections. Smokers have been known to have four times the risk of infection than non-smokers.
We recommend that you stop smoking two to three weeks before your procedure to ensure you will be safe whilst under anaesthesia. After the procedure we recommend you wait four weeks before you start to smoke again, this is if you wish to start again. It is so your body can heal properly; if you smoke during your healing period not only will the healing be prolonged but you will swell and bruise more than non-smokers.