Smokers have more complications after surgery for skin cancer

Smokers have more complications after surgery for skin cancer. According to a study conducted in the United States, complications after surgery for skin cancer may be more common among smokers and former smokers.

The researchers looked at the results after the “Mohs reconstruction”, a procedure to eliminate a cutaneous cancer lesion. Once the cancer is removed, often from the head or neck, surgeons can close the site using a flap made of the surrounding tissue or a skin graft taken from another part of the body.

For this study, researchers examined the results of 1,008 patients with Mohs reconstruction with flaps or transplants, including 128 current smokers and 385 former smokers.

Compared to never smokers, current smokers were nine times more likely to have complications such as infections, blood clots called bruising, uncontrolled bleeding or dead skin tissue. Ex-smokers were more than three times more likely to have these acute complications.

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“Smoking has adverse effects on healing and results … it has been documented for other procedures, but not before for flap and graft repair after removal of skin cancer”, said Dr Ian Maher. , a professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and lead author of the study.

“Good circulation is needed for a good cure,” Maher said by e-mail. “Smoking damages the small blood vessels of many organs, including the skin, and poor circulation slows healing and prepares patients for complications such as infection.”

A total of 41 people in the study, or 4.1%, had acute complications.

This included 19 cases of infection; 10 cases of necrosis or dead tissue at the site of the flap or graft; 10 cases of wound separation; and 6 cases of clots or uncontrolled bleeding. Some patients have had more than one complication.

The state of smoking does not seem to have an impact on long-term results, report researchers of facial plastic surgery JAMA.

One of the limitations of the study is the lack of data on the number of people who have smoked or for how long and on the number of former smokers who may have quit.

Even so, smokers and former smokers should be aware that they are at increased risk for acute complications and are doing everything in their power to minimize their risk, said Dr James Dinulos, founder of Seacoast Dermatology in Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, and clinical professor. Surgical associate at the Geisel School of Medicine in Dartmouth, Hanover.

Smokers have more complications after surgery for skin cancer so avoid

“Smoking has a negative impact on the early stages of wound healing, resulting in an increase in the complications described in the study,” said Dinulos, not involved in the study, in an email. “The chemicals in the smoke are likely to affect the long-term integrity of the skin, especially if the patient smokes with several packs during the year and some of the physiological changes may not be reversible. ”

Quitting smoking is even better than continuing to smoke, and some patients may delay surgery in order to quit smoking first, said Dinos.

and one more thing It is well known that quitting smoking can reverse the harmful physiological effects of smoking.so including improving breathing, improving cardiovascular function, reducing the risk of stroke and cancer risk,” he said. Dr Graham Warren of the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical Center. The University of South Carolina in Charleston, who also did not participate in the study.

“When it comes to skin cancer, patients who say they have already smoked probably realize the benefits of quitting because of their vascular and immune function,” Warren said by email.

“With regard to skin cancer, patients who say they have already smoked probably realize the benefits of quitting because of their vascular and immune function,” Warren said by email.

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