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Smoking and bariatric surgery

January 23, 2020

If you’re a smoker and you’re considering bariatric surgery, there are a few things you should know first.

Most smokers already know a slew of reasons why they should quit smoking. However, if you are hoping to get bariatric surgery, it’s one more reason to consider quitting smoking. The bad habit can lead to a slew of diseases and it will have an impact on quality of living, especially the longer you smoke. You may have problems with poor blood supply, high blood pressure, blood clots that can lead to strokes, heart problems, lung problems, and a slew of different cancers, such as lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Depending on the type of bariatric surgery you opt for, there will be fewer blood vessels going to the stomach. Smoking already causes issues with narrowing blood vessels, and because of this, the blood vessels carry less oxygen. This means that continuing to smoke after bariatric surgery can be extremely dangerous. The risk for ulcers, gastritis, and strictures increase. Less oxygen will reach your surgical wound, meaning it may heal more slowly and is more at-risk of becoming infected. There is also an association between tobacco use and respiratory problems following bariatric surgery. Recovery will be more difficult if you’re a smoker. One study showed that smokers, as compared to their nonsmoking counterparts, were 1.5 times more likely to develop surgery-related problems within one month of surgery.

Doctors recommend that you stop smoking cigarettes and using any tobacco products approximately six to eight weeks before your surgery, if not even sooner. The sooner you quit, the more you lower your risk of problems after surgery. Every smoker that decides to pursue weight-loss surgery will be counseled on the risks of smoking before and after surgery, as well as the health benefits of quitting.

Smoking is considered a surgical risk factor for bariatric surgery, so if weight-loss surgery is in your future, it’s time to make a change.


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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.