Orthopedic Surgeons' Management of Elective Surgery for Patients Who Use Nicotine

Lilley M, Krosin M, Lynch TL, Leasure J.

Jan 1, 2017

Orthopedics. 2017 Jan 1;40(1):e90-e94. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20160901-02. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

Abstract:

Despite significant research documenting the detrimental effects of tobacco, the orthopedic literature lacks evidence regarding how surgeons alter their management of elective surgery when patients use nicotine. To better understand how patients' use of nicotine influences orthopedic surgeons' pre- and postoperative management of elective surgery, a 9-question paper survey was distributed at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons among attending US orthopedic surgeons, including general orthopedists and specialty-trained orthopedic surgeons. Survey questions focused on attitudes and practice management regarding patients who use nicotine. Using a chi-square test, no statistically significant variation was observed between subspecialists and general orthopedists or among different subspecialties. Ninety-eight percent of the orthopedic surgeons surveyed counseled tobacco users about the adverse effects of nicotine. However, approximately half of all of the respondents spent less than 5 minutes on perioperative nicotine counseling. Forty-one percent of all of the respondents never delayed elective surgery because of a patient's nicotine use, followed closely by 39% delaying surgery for less than 3 months. Subspecialty had little influence on how orthopedic surgeons managed nicotine users. The high rate of counseling on the adverse effects of nicotine suggested agreement regarding the detrimental effects of smoking. However, the study population infrequently delayed surgery or used smoking cessation measures. Studies are needed to determine why few surgeons frequently alter the management of nicotine users and what modifications in orthopedic practice could improve outcomes for these patients. [Orthopedics. 2017; 40(1):e90-e94.].