Bariatric surgery is an effective tool for helping you lose weight and keeping it off for long. You will increase your chance of a successful surgery if you prepare for it.

If you’re a smoker, you will be required to permanently quit smoking at least two months before bariatric surgery. It takes a couple of weeks for the lungs and immune system to return to normal functioning after smoking (so the sooner you quit, the better the outcome). Continue reading to learn more from the team at New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery about the complications associated with smoking.

Surgical Complications Associated with Smoking
There’s a severe risk of surgical complications associated with tobacco smoking. This includes:

Pulmonary complications
If you’re a smoker, you may already have damaged lungs which can worsen breathing issues after surgery. Smokers also have decreased lung capacity to fight off infections, making one more prone to develop pneumonia or other respiratory infections.

Blood clots
Anyone who undergoes bariatric surgery is already at risk of developing blood clots due to poor blood circulation and lack of physical activity. These blood clots can get into the lungs and heart, causing pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.

Smokers have an increased risk of developing blood clots due to the decreased ability of their body to effectively circulate blood.

Delayed wound healing and infections
In general, smokers are at a higher risk for surgical wound infections because of vascular occlusion (blockage of veins). When there is not enough oxygenated blood pumped into the surgical wound, it can take a while for the wound to heal, increasing its chance of getting infected.

How soon should you stop smoking before surgery?
Again, our bariatric patients are required to stop smoking permanently at least two months before surgery. Smoking after gastric bypass increases the risk of ulcers forming between the small pouch and the intestine. It can also lead to nausea, abdominal pain and obstruction. Nicotine testing in the weeks prior to weight loss surgery is used to confirm that patients have stopped smoking.

There are different ways to quit smoking. You can do it cold turkey or if this sounds too much for you, you may try nicotine replacement therapy and/or behavioral therapy.

We want our New Life Bariatric patients to have the most successful surgery possible and be healthy long term afterwards. That’s why kicking nicotine is an important part of the process.

For more information about weight loss surgery, visit our Get Started page at: https://www.newlifebariatricsurgery.com/get-started/

New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. New Life is affiliated with the Parkwest Center for Bariatric Surgery, part of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.