Smoking and Bariatric Surgery: Achieve Your Best Results by Quitting

Man smoking a cigarette.If you are considering bariatric surgery to lose weight, it is essential that you quit smoking. The habit could endanger both your results and long-term health. To help you understand the relationship between smoking and bariatric surgery, the team of professionals working with Tijuana Bariatrics can explain how smoking effects you before and after bariatric surgery and the increased risks involved.

The Effects of Smoking on Surgery

Patients undergoing any type of surgery should avoid smoking and use of other tobacco products. The nicotine in tobacco increases your blood pressure and heart rate, resulting in your heart working harder to provide the oxygen you need. Cigarette smoke makes your blood more likely to clot, turning it thick and sticky. 

It is highly recommended that patients quit smoking at least six weeks before their surgery. This gives the body enough time to dispose of related waste and adjust to life without smoking.

Smoking can make it more difficult for you to breathe during and after your surgery, as well as increase your risk of infection. Since oxygen is essential to healing, smoking can significantly delay wound healing. Studies have linked smoking to a number of bariatric surgery complications, including:

  • Blood clots
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Pneumonia
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia-related complications

Blood clots and marginal ulcers are rare, but they are the common complications. Blood clots are the leading cause of death after bariatric surgery, and marginal ulcers, while rarely fatal, can be painful and long-lasting. Many patients with ulcers require revision surgery.

Consequently, it is highly recommended that patients quit smoking at least six weeks before their surgery. This gives the body enough time to dispose of related waste and adjust to life without smoking. Because of the danger it poses to your health, it is important to be honest with your surgeon about your smoking habits and any previous attempts to quit. Many surgeons adhere to very specific guidelines about the timeline and will reschedule surgery until a patient is at their healthiest.

The Importance of Quitting

It cannot be overstated how important quitting is to the success of your bariatric surgery. Stopping smoking can be very difficult task for most smokers because of nicotine, its especially addictive ingredient. However, after discussing your smoking history, your surgeon can advise you on a number of different cessation possibilities, including:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy: With this cessation method, smokers gradually reduce the amount of nicotine they take in over a period of time. Rather than cigarettes, they typically chew gum or apply skin patches that contain nicotine without the other toxins found in tobacco products. However, since this therapy exposes patients to nicotine, patients are still at risk of potential complications. If you choose this particular therapy, alert your surgeon so they can plan accordingly.
  • Prescription oral medications: Unlike nicotine replacement therapy, these medications contain no nicotine whatsoever. Instead, the drugs work to reduce cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and the pleasure derived from smoking cigarettes. Patients should keep in mind, however, that some studies have linked these medications to an increased risk of heart attack, depression, and other conditions.

Bariatric surgery recovery is an important part of your overall process. By quitting smoking, this helps ensure a safer, easier recovery, and the best possible results

Contact Tijuana Bariatrics Today

The physicians and staff working through Tijuana Bariatrics are committed to ensuring the best possible results for your bariatric surgery. Reach out today to learn more about quitting smoking and how it can help you in the long-term.