We understand that if you are a smoker the idea of “just quitting” is not as simple as it sounds, and can get very tiring to hear coming from others. The risks associated with smoking are often not enough to curb the addiction. However, if you are looking into going through bariatric surgery you will have to do just that. Smoking after bariatric surgery can increase your risk of complications post-op anywhere from 3x-4x the normal margin. In this blog, we’ll go over how smoking affects your weight loss surgery results and why you should avoid smoking after your bariatric surgery.
Complications During Recovery
When looking at post-op recovery, it is imperative that you give your body time to heal. During the recovery process, reintroduction of smoking can lead to an increased risk of:
- Organ space infection
- Prolonged intubation
- Longer length of hospital stay
These increased risks can greatly affect the overall health of patients moving forward and are an obvious concern when performing surgery on patients who struggle with quitting cigarettes and using other forms of tobacco. After the recovery process is finished, it can be tempting to pick cigarettes back up as a habit. Many patients think the perceived risks associated with surgery as a smoker are gone, however that is not always the case.
Tobacco smoke creates a chain reaction that can cause your blood vessels to shrink, or constrict, which then affects blood flow to your new stomach, or pouch. Carbon monoxide is produced through smoking and negatively impacts your red blood cells capacity to move oxygen throughout your body. These two factors not only affect your healing process after bariatric surgery, but can continue to be a problem post-op years after.
The Process After Quitting
While your surgeon cannot stop you from going back to smoking after your recovery period is over, our team at Riverside highly discourages re-establishing smoking as a habit for optimal results. Patients need to be aware of the risks involved with that decision, should you feel that quitting for good isn’t an option for you.
Once you quit for the sanctioned time before your surgery and are ready to go through with the bariatric procedure, you need to think about ways to combat the urge to go back to smoking after, but especially during recovery.
Some helpful ways to do that may include things you are already instructed to do by your doctor, like exercising, sleeping on a schedule, and eating a well-balanced diet. By following through with these instructions, you will often find that some of the stress you feel that makes some smokers reach for their lighter can be lessened. The mental pull to smoke won’t be gone, but it will be easier to combat, especially with the support and guidance from your medical team.
Our team at Riverside Surgical & Weight Loss Center is always happy to provide any assistance you feel you may need in your journey toward a happier, healthier you. To talk to our team about your options for weight loss surgery and staying smoke free, schedule a consultation with our doctors today!