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Smoking cessation interventions – perhaps including the medication Champix – could help fractures to heal faster.
Health experts made the announcement in Stockholm, Sweden, last week, after carrying out a study on patients who had previously smoked daily. Their investigation found that smoking cessation interventions, carried out six weeks prior to an operation on an acute fracture, could reduce the risk of post-operation complications by nearly half.
It has previously been recognised that being a non-smoker can help patients to recover from surgery. However, this is the first time that a study has established smokers can actually give up the habit in the space of time between an accident and their operation. A senior consultant said that the results were “surprising” and “encouraging”.
Smoking makes it difficult for wounds to heal because it inhibits blood circulation and lowers oxygen levels in the body. Although it was not used in this study, the popular smoking cessation aid Champix might be one way that could help patients to quit during this period. Champix is one of the newest smoking cessation medications around and has a high success rate. It works by triggering the same receptors in the brain as nicotine, while at the same time preventing any nicotine that enters the body from getting to these receptors.
Although in some situations Champix may help a person to quit smoking before surgery – and thereby help their recovery process post-surgery – Champix may affect some medicines during surgery. People should always tell whoever is involved in their surgery, be it doctors, surgeons or anaesthetists, that they are taking the medication.
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the world. This past Monday marked World No Tobacco day, with a series of events being held around the world to mark the occasion.