Spinal surgery can be a serious matter and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has created guidelines for patients to follow before surgery that can give their bodies a fighting chance to making a better recovery. Stronger for Surgery suggests that patients follow a specialized nutrition plan, control their blood sugar, talk to their doctors about their medication, and quit smoking in order to drastically improve their healing process.
ACS found that smoking is responsible for a 40% increase in problems after surgery and patients who smoke are less likely to return to work, have more pain, are less satisfied with their surgeries, and are more likely to have to go under the knife again. Researchers studied the outcomes for patients undergoing cervical and lumbar fusion after following the Stronger for Surgery program and found positive results. Smoking rates among these patients dropped from 36% in 2011 to 12% in 2016.
Smoking has been found to be detrimental to the healing process of patients who have just undergone surgery. Chemicals in cigarette smoke have been found to decrease the amount of crucial oxygen blood cells need to carry in order to keep the body running in tip-top shape. On top of that, smoking also narrows the blood vessels, which makes it hard for blood to travel to wounds in the body that blood needs to heal. And to make matters worse, the blood also becomes sludge-like, which further impairs the blood’s ability to travel to where it needs to go. People who fail to quit smoking before and after surgery are more likely to suffer from infections because smoking makes it harder for immune cells to fight off bacteria.
Plans are being made for Strong for Surgery to be implemented in hospitals all across the country. Find out more about Strong for Surgery by watching this video.