Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ


I've heard that smoking makes it harder to heal from certain types of surgery, such as spine surgery. Does smoking also affect wrist surgery?


Smoking seems to slow down healing from bone fusion surgeries. In some cases, it may even prevent the bones from growing together. Researchers think that nicotine restricts the blood supply that bones need in order to heal. Even though the wrist has a better blood supply than the spine, it isn't free from this negative effect.
In a study of patients who had ulnar osteotomy--a procedure to shorten the ulna bone near the inside edge of the wrist--smokers took almost twice as long to heal as nonsmokers (seven versus four months). Smoking also decreased the chances that the surgery would take. Compared to nonsmokers, smokers more often had long delays in healing. Their surgeries were more often unsuccessful, meaning that their wrists showed no improvement after a year. 

Unfortunately, smoking affects many parts of the body. Even in the wrist where there's a rich blood supply, smoking takes a toll.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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