Smoking Boosts Rate of Reoperation for Infection after TJA

Smoking Image from Nick.jpegHere’s one thing about which medical studies have been nearly unanimous:  Smoking is a health hazard by any measure. In the February 15, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Tischler et al. put some hard numbers on the risk of smoking for those undergoing total joint arthroplasty (TJA).

After controlling for confounding factors, the authors of the Level III prognostic study found that:

  • Current smokers have a significantly increased risk of reoperation for infection within 90 days of TJA compared with nonsmokers.
  • The amount one has smoked, regardless of current smoking status, significantly contributed to increased risk of unplanned nonoperative readmission.

In a commentary on the Tischler et al. study, William, G. Hamilton, MD says, “…as physicians, we should work cooperatively with our patients to enhance outcomes by attempting to reduce these modifiable risk factors. We can educate patients and can suggest smoking cessation programs and weight loss regimens that may not only improve the risk profile during the surgical episode, but also improve the patients’ overall health.”

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