Smoking Inhibits Fracture Healing and Bone Formation

Published Online: Sunday, September 1, 2002

Smoking inhibits estrogen and impairs the health of muscles, bones, and joints, according to a literature review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. ?Several studies showed that smokers who have wounds or surgical incisions often take longer to heal than nonsmokers,? said coauthor Edward N. Hanley, Jr, MD, clinical professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Dr. Hanley explained that smokers? tissues do not get enough oxygen to fully repair themselves, making it more difficult to recover from a broken bone. Smoking also slows healing after orthopedic surgical procedures, he added.

In addition, the data showed that smoking decreases the ability to form bone, which increases the risk for osteoporosis. Smoking accelerates bone loss in osteo-porotic postmenopausal women, ?which may be due in part to nicotine?s inhibition of estrogen,? said Dr. Hanley.

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