Most people, when thinking of smoking risks only think of diseases directly caused by smoking. But smoking can play a major risk in treating diseases and injuries that in a true sense are not caused by or have anything to do with smoking. I am referring to the risk of postoperative complications.
Many doctors will hold off doing elective or non-essential surgeries for as long as possible in order to give a patient time to be totally smoke free. This is not a practice done for arbitrary reasons. Surgery is much riskier to perform on a smoker.
Your risks of complications of anesthesia or postoperative complications are much higher while you smoke. These complications can be serious, making you suffer much longer and possibly putting your life at risk. The longer you are off prior to surgery, the lower the risk becomes.
One cardiologist I worked with in smoking cessation programs over 25 years ago studied the risk of postoperative complications at the hospital where he was then chief of cardiology and thoracic surgery.
At that time he found that in non-smokers the postoperative complication rate was 1 in 50. Smokers had a rate of 1 in 3. If the surgeries were elective and they could wait for the patient to quit, he found that if the smoker would quit for just a week, the rates were 1 in 12. Of course it wasn't as good as a person who had been off for years but it was far superior to current smokers.
The longer people were off the closer the rate became to non-smokers levels. The important thing is to quit as far ahead of any procedure as soon as possible. The only way to get maximal benefit of longest-term cessation prior to any future surgery is to stay smoke free today and for as long as you live remember a day at a time to never take another puff!