We advise all patients undergoing bone lengthening and/or bone reconstruction procedures to stop smoking. Please read the following information, modified from a press release from the University of Texas.
Smoking Increases Medical Problems Associated with Broken Bones
Smoking almost doubles the time it takes broken bones to heal, in some cases preventing recovery for more than a year, according to a study conducted at the University of Texas Medical School. Another study, conducted at Emory University School of Medicine, shows that nicotine in the blood slows and may even totally prevent bone fusion in certain cases.
According to John Banzhaf, Executive Director of the national antismoking organization Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), although four major studies designed to estimate the costs of smoking to the American economy place the average cost at more than $95 billion per year in 1994 US dollars, these studies seriously underestimate the true costs for many reasons. One reason is illustrated by the new bone studies.
"Typically, studies of the costs of smoking look at the costs of the three major disease categories caused by smoking—cancers at various sites, cardiovascular problems (including heart attacks and strokes), and chronic obstructive lung disease (especially chronic bronchitis and emphysema)—and then estimate the percentage of each caused by smoking. However, they overlook medical reports like the two new bone studies which suggest that smoking exacerbates health care and rehabilitative costs for many problems not directly caused by smoking."
According to Banzhaf, it has long been known that smokers undergoing surgical operations for many different problems not caused by smoking, including broken bones, spend far more time recovering in the intensive care unit. They are also far more likely to suffer complications, especially respiratory complications, resulting from surgery than are nonsmokers.
Accessed and posted with permission from http://ash.org/pr/bones.htm.