I am new here and tried posting this in another forum and did not receive much response. I don't know if it is because no one saw it or they just don't know how to respond. So, I figured I would try again this way.
I have had three ACDF surgeries as shown below. I quit smoking the day of the first two surgeries and all three levels fused within three months. Each time I fused, I would start smoking again. My last surgery was on 12/16/08 for levels C6-C7 (which I believe should have been included in my 6/23/08 surgery) and due to many different things (stress, quickness of the surgery date, depression, etc.), I had difficulty completely quitting smoking this time. I never smoked a whole cigarette at once but I would have a hit of my boyfriends here and there and sometimes I even went for days or a week without any. I was so mad at myself the whole time too!
Last Wednesday was my 6 week post-op visit and I am not fusing. I was almost in tears. My doctor says "you've always grown bone like gangbusters but I don't see much this time". He says my constant shoulder/back muscle pain is not getting any better because I am not fusing. He did not ask me about smoking but he knows I was a previous smoker. He thinks I am not fusing because I have lost weight (only about 6 lbs) and told me to gain it back asap. He has also ordered a bone stimulator. I will NOT have another cigarette or be around any until I know I have fused this time too!
I am also supposed to return to work on 2/17/09 after being on disability since June 2008 (tried working 8 days in November but too much pain). I'm terrified since I am not fusing but afraid of losing my job in these tough times. My doctor and I will make that decision this Friday.
I'm sorry for being so lenghthy. I'm just extremely upset and hating myself right now.
I have a few questions that I am hoping some of you might be able to comment on.
Has anyone heard of no fusion due to weight loss?
Has anyone started fusing after 6 weeks post-op?
Has anyone had any luck with a bone stimulator?
Why have I heard C6-C7 are the toughest to fuse?
Thanks for any input!