What Is the Fate of Total Joint Arthroplasty Patients Who Are Asked to Quit Smoking Prior to Surgery?

Katelyn Paulsen, Christopher N. Carender, Nicolas O. Noiseux, Jacob M. Elkins, Timothy S. Brown, Nicholas A. Bedard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Smoking is a known risk factor for complications following primary total joint arthroplasty (TJA). Little is known regarding the fate of patients who are asked to quit smoking before surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of smoking cessation prior to primary TJA and the impact of smoking cessation on perioperative outcomes. Methods: This is a retrospective review of patients who presented between 2008 and 2020 to a single academic medical center with a documented smoking history and were asked to quit smoking prior to receiving a date for primary TJA. The cohort was surveyed about smoking cessation, smoking history, use of quit aids, seeking surgery elsewhere due to the cessation policy, and postoperative complications. Descriptive statistics evaluated the relationship between demographics, smoking cessation, and postoperative complications. Results: A total of 101 patients completed the survey with an overall response rate of 48%. Sixty-two percent of patients quit smoking before surgery, and 51% of these patients reported remaining smoke-free at 6 months postoperatively. The average time to quit before TJA was 45 days (range: 1-365 days), and 62% quit without quit aids. The wound complication/infection rate was significantly higher for patients who did not stop smoking prior to TJA (4 of 16; 27%) than for those who did quit prior to surgery (3 of 63; 5%; P = .02). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that most patients (62%) will stop smoking, if required, prior to primary TJA. Furthermore, 51% of patients reported abstinence from smoking at 6 months following TJA. TJA appears to be an effective motivator for smoking cessation. Level of Evidence: III (retrospective cohort study).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101087
JournalArthroplasty Today
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Pack years
  • Postoperative outcomes
  • Smoke-free
  • Smoking cessation
  • Total hip arthroplasty
  • Total knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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