A review of existing studies in the February issue of Anesthesiology found that surgical patients who are non-smokers, or who stop smoking prior to surgery, tend to have safer anesthesia and fare better in the recovery period than smokers.
Smokers who quit around the time of surgery may have fewer problems with nicotine withdrawal after the operation than they would have if they had tried to quit at other times. This may be due to medications and therapies commonly used during surgery and recovery, which may suppress nicotine withdrawal symptoms, the researchers said.
"For people who have thought about quitting smoking, the time of their surgery is a good opportunity to do so," said lead author David O. Warner, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist.
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