Happy-Camper

Smoking, WLS and wound healing

49 posts in this topic

I've seen several questions lately about smoking, like "why do i have to stop" and "when can I start back after surgery".  

 

Just as an educational thing, in case your surgeon didn't go into detail and just told you to stop with no reason why... I have some info.  I'm not just blindly jabbering, because I work at my hospitals wound care and hyperbaric center and have seen the truth of these things first-hand.

 

First of all, "why should I quit before surgery?"

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1323208

 

Smoking constricts blood vessels (in the brain, too, FYI) and prevents oxygen rich blood from entering your cells.  Basically the blood is carrying carbon monoxide - and poisoning you - rather than oxygen which heals.  Cigars, cigarettes same thing.  Healing takes much longer and sometimes never happens at all.

 

Smoking encourages infections, blood clots and an increased susceptibility to colds or pneumonia.  Coughing just after surgery is no fun.  Blood clots can be deadly.   It also decreases stores of certain vitamins. As a bypass patient we already have enough problems with malnutrition and don't need the added issues from nicotine. This is important for after the surgery as well as before.

 

There is a serious risk of ulcers at the point where the pouch meets the small intestines.  Healing here is imperative!  Again, smokers dont heal well.  Even after surgery, the risk of ulcers are much higher.

 

The potential complications from nicotine make this surgery a game of Russian roulette for a smoker or one who uses nicotine in other forms.  Sure, some win.... But do you want to pull that trigger?

Edited by Happy-Camper
Dees, Crkrjax76, angel0524 and 3 others like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the more immediate and pressing worries from an ex-smoker's point of view - smoking makes you COUGH.  Those of you that have had surgery understand what I'm talking about--you REALLY do not want to cough after surgery.  The less you have to disturb your incisions, and the less reason you give yourself to gag or vomit, the better.

 

Even if you don't worry about the cancer, the slowed healing, the risk of blood clots, addiction transfer, sabotaging yourself from the altered physiology produced by smoking (i.e., when most people can't smoke during the day, like at work, they tend to EAT - so keeping up that habit and staying in those cycles is counter productive to having this expensive and life-altering surgery)...

 

Even if you don't worry about any of those things?  Worry about hurting.  Because you will, indubitably, hurt more if you smoke.

 

 

 

And last but not least, don't forget--most surgeons won't even consider you if you smoke.  I know of some clinics that, if they find out at any point you are smoking, will discontinue services and refuse you as a patient.  Your surgeon has every right to do the same thing.  It'd be like a dentist who wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole, because you had a habit of drinking Clorox bleach and your mouth was melting away.

 

 

Don't smoke.  It's hard to quit, but it's essential.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Added to which ..... smoking brings potential issues for anesthesia, difficulties with monitoring during surgery, recovery, blood clots in the lung, pneumonia, wound healing and smoking can affect how drugs work:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2149030/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Setting a target quit date and getting ready for the upcoming battle with my nicotine addiction. Thanks for the info HappyCamper.

CBinAZ, Kinate, Mirtl and 4 others like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Setting a target quit date and getting ready for the upcoming battle with my nicotine addiction. Thanks for the info HappyCamper.

*hugs*

It will make you feel so much better! Time to celebrate with a cool clean drink of water, and a BIG deep breath! You'll feel amazing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Setting a target quit date and getting ready for the upcoming battle with my nicotine addiction. Thanks for the info HappyCamper.

CONGRATS on taking the steps to quit! I smoked for 35 ish years.... It was hard to quit, I won't lie... but so worth it!!

✯AprilWine✯ likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too smoked for many years (close to 20) and was able to quit almost three years ago when I got pregnant. I'm thankful every day that I was able to kick the habit. (And so did my hubby!)

Good luck to you, GoldenGirl! You can do it and you will feel amazing!

marcey76 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the charger for my e-cigarette. I have my last pack of real cigs in my purse. When it's gone, I'll be done.  If there are any other smokers out there who are looking to quit and need support..... Maybe we can help each other. Right now, in this moment, quitting smoking is scarier than surgery. But by GOD I will do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree quitting is scarier than surgery, I'm in the process of quitting also so I do understand. I think quitting is the hardest thing I have ever did. Message me we can support each other. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quit almost 2 years ago.  I will admit it was hard as HELL!  I was an emotional disaster, but the ecig helped me a lot.  I still have the e cig with no nicotine.  They sell the best ones in smoke shops.  Don't buy then at the gas station (those ones are gross).  It was all worth it.  Funny how much more time you have on your hands once you quit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And some surgeons (like mine) refuse to perform any bariatric surgery on any patient that smokes. Flat out will not do it. She even does a nicotine test before surgery and will cancel if nicotine is detected. Smoking causes serious complications as others have said (clots, poor wound healing, etc) and should be stopped before starting on this new, healthier lifestyle. My surgeon is very conservative and wants the best set-up/situation before operating. She told me that she has lost only one patient to death post-op and that patient smoked so she refuses to ever operate on a smoker. Period.

backtonormal310 and Mirtl like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if you quit a week before surgery with no intentions of starting again does that help with healing or do you need to quit long before that?

Do they have e-cig with no nicotine? I really need one.

Edited by ItTimeForaChange

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are e-cigs without nicotine. I know there's one in the mall where I live so I'm sure there's one near you. Even some of the smoke shops sell them without nicotne.  I'm on day 2 with no smoking, and very little nicorette gum or e-cig. This morning was the roughest for me. Now that I'm at work with my time and attention occupied it's not bad at all. I did learn a lesson last night with the gum. If you chomp on it really violently you WILL get a nicotine buzz. Followed by equally violent vomiting. Lesson learned!  It hasn't been nearly as hard as I had psyched myself into believing, and I already see a difference in how I feel. Good luck!

Dees likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if you quit a week before surgery with no intentions of starting again does that help with healing or do you need to quit long before that?

Do they have e-cig with no nicotine? I really need one.

 

I believe I saw that most docs want you to be quit 6 weeks prior to surgery.  Time for the nicotine to get out of your system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if you quit a week before surgery with no intentions of starting again does that help with healing or do you need to quit long before that?

Do they have e-cig with no nicotine? I really need one.

 

The sooner you quit, the better.  No joke.  Some surgeons will test you for contanine prior to surgery (nicotine metabolizes into contanine and is measurable).  If you're over a certain amount, they'll reschedule your surgery date.  Not trying to scare you, just trying to keep it real.

 

Honestly, I know some people do the no-nicotine e-cigs, but getting rid of the habit is the best thing you can do.  Try to relearn how to get through your day without the habit.  Relearn how to drive your car, how to boil water for pasta, how to relax after eating (take a walk!), how to wake up in the morning, and how to prepare for bed at night. 

 

I'm not saying it's easy, but it's probably not as bad as you THINK it's going to be.  Those first three days are frantic.  The chemical makes you want to light up every 20 minutes, so every 20 minutes you deal with a craving.  But it's really as simple as saying, "Nope.  Not doing it."  Replace the habit with drinking water.  Take 10 deep breaths--inhale and exhale slowly (this really does work).  Snap a rubber band HARD on your wrist. 

 

After the first three days, it's just kicking the HABIT - the physical craving is so reduced that it's no longer an issue.  After three days, you'll be able to breathe easier--both literally and figuratively.

Goldengirl6767 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are e-cigs without nicotine. I know there's one in the mall where I live so I'm sure there's one near you. Even some of the smoke shops sell them without nicotne.  I'm on day 2 with no smoking, and very little nicorette gum or e-cig. This morning was the roughest for me. Now that I'm at work with my time and attention occupied it's not bad at all. I did learn a lesson last night with the gum. If you chomp on it really violently you WILL get a nicotine buzz. Followed by equally violent vomiting. Lesson learned!  It hasn't been nearly as hard as I had psyched myself into believing, and I already see a difference in how I feel. Good luck!

 

I am SUPER proud of you.  You can totally kick this.  :D

Goldengirl6767 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can do this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Dees.... I'm pretty proud of me too, if I do say so myself. :) :)

Dees likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, this is a similar question, but not about cigarettes. I occasionally smoke weed, and wonder if/when I could do that again after surgery. Please, I don't want to hear anything about how I shouldn't do this, etc. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, this is a similar question, but not about cigarettes. I occasionally smoke weed, and wonder if/when I could do that again after surgery. Please, I don't want to hear anything about how I shouldn't do this, etc. Thanks!

 

No, you shouldn't do it after surgery.  Doesn't matter what you put in the cigarette - the cigarette is still a cigarette and can still cause similar problems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't smoke much at all before I started on this journey, but I did like an occasional cigar or pipe when out camping or at a bike rally.  I haven't done that since Feb but I don't see why I couldn't do the occasional puff.  I do not have a physical addiction because I don't directly inhale, but I know that I am getting some second hand smoke.. but i really like the smell and the social aspect.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allison, I would think the joint would not be very good on the diet.. :)  

IslandWater likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smoking after surgery is never recommended.  It's probably safer with a sleeve or lap band.  If you smoke after a bypass, you are asking for trouble.  It's very likely that you will develop chronic, painful ulcers in your pouch if you do.  If those ulcers heal, they can cause strictures that have to be dilated so you can eat.  If those strictures scar enough, you won't be able to eat anything and will need a feeding tube into your intestine and to have your bypass operation redone, usually without a pouch after that.  If the ulcers don't heal because you keep smoking, eventually you will bleed to death. Don't smoke after a gastric bypass. Ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Setting a target quit date and getting ready for the upcoming battle with my nicotine addiction. Thanks for the info HappyCamper.

it is a relly difficult! yoy don't smoke even a cigarette now? never?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And some surgeons (like mine) refuse to perform any bariatric surgery on any patient that smokes. Flat out will not do it. She even does a nicotine test before surgery and will cancel if nicotine is detected. Smoking causes serious complications as others have said (clots, poor wound healing, etc) and should be stopped before starting on this new, healthier lifestyle. My surgeon is very conservative and wants the best set-up/situation before operating. She told me that she has lost only one patient to death post-op and that patient smoked so she refuses to ever operate on a smoker. Period.

My surgeon did the same thing... I quit about 25 days before my surgery and I have had 1 cig in about 5 months. Amen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.