Cigarette smoke exposes the patient to approximately 5000 chemical agents of which more than 60 can cause cancer or are toxic. Besides nicotine, cigarettes contain arsenic, ammonia, methane and butane.
There are significant increased risks of serious complications in knee replacementknee replacement patients who smoke. Studies have shown that these complications include surgical site infectionssurgical site infections, pneumonia, stroke and death.
Patients who actively smoke around the time of their knee replacement have increased postoperative wound complications, with approximately twice the rate of deep wound infections compared with former smokers and nonsmokers. Also, the greater lifetime pack-year history of smoking is associated with an increased total complication risk. Therefore, even former smokers have an increased risk of developing medical complications following knee replacement.11
Additionally, patients who smoke after knee replacement have a 10 fold increase in the rate of failure of their prosthesis10 fold increase in the rate of failure of their prosthesis. Since knee replacement surgery is an elective procedure, there is time to quit before surgery to lower the risks associated with smoking.
Quitting smoking 3 months prior to surgery may decrease some of these risks, but does not completely eliminate them. If you smoke, discuss with your doctor the many different methods that are available to stop. Another option is to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to access your state sponsored free Quitline. You can access further recourses on the internet at smokefree.govsmokefree.gov.