Do I Stop Smoking Before Bariatric Surgery?

While bariatric surgery generally carries a low risk of complications, patients who smoke and chew tobacco double this risk following their surgery. During your consultation, and throughout the treatment process, the importance of abstaining from tobacco will be reinforced.

How Smoking Could Affect You

Undergoing bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure that requires extensive planning and preparation, and requires that you be in good general health. If you are hoping to achieve the very best results, it is imperative that you follow all the instructions provided by your doctors. Patients who continue to smoke prior to their procedure and throughout their recovery will experience a nearly 30 percent complication rate, which is much higher than non-smokers. In addition to inhibiting your ability to lose weight and achieve a slimmer figure, smokers are more likely to experience complications that could lead to serious health concerns and even death.

Quitting smoking is an important step as patients prepare for surgery.

Common Complications and Health Effects

There are several reasons why your bariatric surgeon will recommend you refrain from tobacco and smoking prior to and after your surgery. One of the most notable reasons is that your organs and other tissue will not receive the necessary blood supply to promote proper healing, which can lead to:

  • Blood clots
  • Pneumonia
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Wound infection

Furthermore, this is simply a good opportunity for smokers to develop the motivation needed to kick their habit for good. As smoking has been linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and cataracts, among other concerns, many patients use this time to commit to leading a healthier lifestyle.

How Soon Do I Need to Quit?

To minimize the risk of pneumonia and blood clots, patients should be tobacco-free for at least six weeks prior to their operation.

To minimize the risk of pneumonia and blood clots, two of the most common complications associated with smoking and bariatric surgery, patients should be tobacco-free for at least six weeks prior to their operation. As you prepare for your surgery in the weeks and months leading up to your trip to Mexico, your surgeon will give you additional details and guidelines. Stopping just one to two weeks prior to surgery will not be sufficient, and could consequently lead to elevated risks.

Can I Use a Nicotine Patch or Gum?

The acts of both smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco deliver nicotine into the bloodstream, which leads to the decreased blood supply that can heighten your risk of developing unwanted complications. Therefore, any product that aids in the cessation of tobacco use and contains nicotine (such as a Nicorette® patch or chewing gum), must also be avoided.

Learn More About Protecting Your Health

If you are a smoker and have questions or concerns about how this may affect your procedure, Tijuana Bariatric Center can help handle your inquiries. Please contact us online or call 1 (877) 218-3516 today to learn more.


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