Kick butt to heal fracture faster

Islamabad, January 20 (Newswire): Smokers who avoid tobacco during the weeks following surgery for an acute fracture heal more quickly than patients who continue smoking, according to a new study.

“Our results indicate that a smoking cessation intervention programme during the first six weeks after acute fracture surgery decreases the risk of postoperative complications by nearly half,” said Hans Nasell, senior surgical consultant, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.

Smoking inhibits circulation and lowers blood oxygen levels, which can affect short-term and long-term healing in several ways, including failure or delayed healing of bone, skin and other soft tissues or causing wound site infections.

While earlier research has clearly indicated refraining from smoking prior to surgery results in better healing and fewer postoperative complications, this multi-centre study is the first to examine the effects of quitting tobacco after surgery.

“Tobacco smoking is a major health and economic concern and is also known to have a significant negative effect on surgical outcomes,” Nasell said.

“Our aim was to assess whether a smoking cessation programme, started soon after hospitalisation and continuing for six weeks following surgery, could reduce the number of postoperative complications,” Nasell said.

In the study, conducted at three hospitals in Stockholm, daily smokers, who underwent emergency surgery for an acute fracture, were offered a smoking cessation programme within two days of surgery.

During the six-week follow-up, patients were encouraged not to smoke and free nicotine substitution was offered to those who needed it.

Up until this point, the belief was that you needed to stop smoking prior to surgery to gain any benefit,” Nasell said, according to a Karolinska Institutet release.

“It was surprising and encouraging to see that even stopping smoking following surgery for a period of time can offer significant benefits, including nearly a 50 percent reduction in wound complications.