The Lap-Band® Blog

Smoking and Bariatric Surgery


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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