STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 3 (UPI) — Patients who avoid tobacco for six weeks after surgery for a fracture have fewer post-operative complications, researchers in Sweden found.
Dr. Hans Nasell, senior surgical consultant at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, said earlier research indicated quitting smoking prior to surgery resulted in better healing and fewer postoperative complications.
In this study, conducted at three Stockholm hospitals, daily smokers who had emergency surgery for an acute fracture were offered a six-week smoking cessation program within two days of surgery.
The smoking cessation program included one or two in-person meetings, regular telephone contact with a nurse trained in the cessation program and free nicotine substitution.
Before this study, many physicians thought patients needed to stop smoking prior to surgery to gain any benefit, Nasell said.
“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,” Nasell said in a statement. “The smoking cessation program requires only about 2 to 3 hours of support from the nursing staff, which is significantly less time than would be required for the treatment of side effects such as poor wound healing which can occur as a side effect of smoking.”
The study is published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.