There is more evidence that living a healthy lifestyle can offer long-term benefits in middle age. Knee replacement surgery patients who avoid smoking and skip alcohol consumption before surgery have a better outcome than those who don’t. This finding comes from new research revealed at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
According to researchers, smoking cigarettes raises a patient’s risk of post-operative complications. The study found that current smokers had 41 percent higher odds of site infections than those who had never smoked before. Current smokers also showed significantly higher odds of pneumonia (53%), stroke (161%) and death within one year (63%), compared to those who had never smoked. In addition, prior smokers were at higher odds of stroke (114%), pneumonia (34%), urinary tract infection (26%), and pulmonary complications (30%), compared with never-smokers.
Researchers collected data on 33,336 patients who had elective joint replacement surgery between 2001 and 2008. Patients were on average 64 years old, and 95 percent were male. Of them, 57 percent never smoked, 19 percent were prior smokers (who had quit at least a year before surgery), and 24 percent were current smokers.
The risk of complications in knee replacement surgery patients who smoke is quite significant and may provide knee replacement surgery candidates a good reason to quit.
In another study, researchers assessed post-surgical complication rates among 185 people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months. They found that patients who reported the highest amount of alcohol misuse were most likely to experience complications. Each extra point in the scale of alcohol use corresponded with a 29 percent increase in the expected number of complications.
Alcohol misuse can have major repercussions in those having knee replacement surgery. Misuse is considered drinking more than four times a week, having more than nine drinks in a typical day, or routinely having more than six drinks a day. Moderate alcohol use is considered one or fewer a day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men.
These research findings suggest that knee replacement surgery patients can protect themselves from serious post-operative complications by making important lifestyle changes prior to having surgery.
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