The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, S140 - S143

Smoking Cessation Before and After Total Joint Arthroplasty—An Uphill Battle

Adam Hart, William G. Rainer, Michael J. Taunton, Tad M. Mabry, Daniel J. Berry, Matthew P. Abdel
Hip Knee


Patients actively smoking at the time of primary total joint arthroplasty (TJA) are at increased risk of perioperative complications. Employing strategies for smoking cessation has therefore become routine. A potential benefit of cessation in anticipation of TJA may be long-term cessation. However, success rates and the longevity of successful smoking cessation attempts before TJA have yet to be presented.


Our institution’s total joint registry documents self-reported smoking status. As such, all patients who underwent TJA from 2007 to 2018 were identified and grouped as nonsmokers, smokers (regularly smoking within 1 year before surgery), and former smokers (those who quit smoking within 1 year before surgery). Thereafter, postoperative smoking status was assessed with special attention to former smokers to see who remained smoke-free.


From the 28,758 primary TJAs identified, 91.3% (26,244) were nonsmokers, 7.3% (2109) were smokers, and 1.4% (405) had quit smoking before surgery. Among former smokers, 86% were abstinent 1 year postoperatively but only 45% were still abstinent 8 years postoperatively. Conversely, 7% of smokers at the time of surgery eventually quit and 6% of prior nonsmokers started smoking over the same time period.


Despite concerted efforts to help patients stop smoking before TJA, 7.3% remain smokers. Among those who are successful, less than half (45%) remain smoke-free after surgery. Compared to current smokers, however, patients who managed to quit before surgery are more likely to remain smoke-free after surgery. These findings demonstrate the tremendous challenge smoking represents in contemporary TJA practices.

Level of Evidence

Therapeutic level III.

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