Performing Surgery On Smokers: What You Should Know

Author(s): 
Lawrence Fallat, DPM, FACFAS, and Ruby Chahal, DPM

In Conclusion

The risks and complications associated with cigarette smoking are well documented. Ideally, the patient will start a smoking cessation program prior to elective surgery. The surgeon must be aware of the complications and make an effort to educate the patient of these risks.

   Dr. Fallat is the Program Director of the Podiatric Surgery Residency at the Oakwood Annapolis Hospital within the Oakwood Healthcare System in Wayne, Mich. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

   Dr. Chahal is a second-year podiatric surgery resident with the Oakwood Annapolis Hospital within the Oakwood Healthcare System in Wayne, Mich.

Comments

I believe a few years ago I read in one of the major journals that you never do elective surgery on a smoker. I've abided by that rule for over 20 years. If they were in enough pain that they needed to consider foot surgery, they were referred back to their primary care doctor to get help to stop smoking before the surgery was scheduled. If there were ever doubts they had quit, a nicotine level was run a day or so before the case was to be scheduled.

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