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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2001 Jan-Feb;9(1):9-17.

The musculoskeletal effects of smoking.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC 28323, USA.


Currently, there are more than 50 million smokers in this country, and approximately 800 billion cigarettes are smoked each year. Smoking is now the leading avoidable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. According to one report, over 500,000 deaths per year in the United States alone can be attributed to smoking. For years, orthopaedic surgeons have known about the relationships that putatively exist between smoking and an array of orthopaedic conditions and complications. It has been shown to adversely affect bone mineral density, lumbar disk disease, the rate of hip fractures, and the dynamics of bone and wound healing. Although scientific and clinical information on smoking and its consequences suggests differing degrees of correlation between smoking and orthopaedic conditions, most available data do suggest a real and reproducible relationship. In the past, there have been many individual reports that deal with these relationships separately but very few published comprehensive reviews. This summary of the current literature regarding the relationship between smoking and musculoskeletal diseases and their treatment provides information that can be used clinically by both the practitioner and the patient.

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