The impact of smoking on neurosurgical outcomes
Cigarette smoking is a common health risk behavior among the general adult population, and is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. The surgical literature shows that active tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for perioperative morbidity and complications, and that preoperative smoking cessation is an effective measure to lower these risks associated with active smoking. However, few studies have examined the effects of smoking and perioperative complications following neurosurgical procedures. The goal of this review was to highlight the scientific data that do exist regarding the impact of smoking on neurosurgical outcomes, to promote awareness of the need for further work in the specific neurosurgical context, and to suggest ways that neurosurgeons can promote smoking cessation in their patients and lead efforts nationally to emphasize the importance of preoperative smoking cessation. This review indicates that there is limited but good evidence that smoking is associated with higher rates of perioperative complications following neurosurgical intervention. Specific research is needed to understand the effects of smoking and perioperative complications. Neurosurgeons should encourage preoperative smoking cessation as part of their clinical practice to mitigate perioperative morbidity associated with active smoking.