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C4-C6 surgery, is smoking really causing my bones not to heal?

TiechiaTTiechia Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello,

I am a 30 year old female who was involved in a motorcycle accident June, 2008. I sustained a broken neck and pelvis injuries, among other semi-minor injuries. Initially, a rod and screws were placed in my neck, but in Aug, 2009 I was told that my bones have slipped from the screws and another surgery is required. Dr.'s say that smokers have a 500% chance of bones not healing and that is why my bones have not healed. A few weeks ago, I had my second surgery, where a bone was taken from my hip and placed in my neck and a metal plate was screwed to keep the bone in place. I managed to go 2weeks without smoking and have slipped and have smoke a few, but no more than 5/day. I used to smoke a pack a day and have for approx 10 years. Any suggestions on how to quit, because I really want to heal this time. I have 3children to raise and I want to be here for them for a long time. I just buried my father this year from lung cancer and it is difficult for me at this time, and smoking seems to give me comfort and relief, even though I am aware of how it is affecting me and my health...
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Comments

  • Quitting smoking has been the biggest challenge for me thus far. I was a smoker for near 30 years and I'm only 43. Prior to my surgery I knew I needed to quit for bones to heal properly, then I had my pre surgery tests and learned that I have the beginning stages of COPD. I smoked until the day before my surgery. I'll be honest, its very difficult for me as smoking was my vice in all things. If things got stressful, I smoked, if I got sad, I smoked, if I just needed a break, I smoked, if I were driving, I smoked like a chimney....I always had an excuse to smoke. Since my surgery I've slipped once when my son was visiting and smoked a couple with him, but not since. I'm not saying that I don't think about it, because I do, on a daily basis, however, I don't allow myself to go out and buy a pack, no matter how stressful things get for me. I want to heal from my fusion surgery and certainly do not want to be on oxygen and nebulizer treatments like my 78 year old mother is because of smoking. What makes it somewhat tolerable for me is both my mom, who smoked for more than 60 years, and my daughter, who is only 21, both quit smoking as well. So I don't have to smell it when they come back inside after having a cigarette. None of us used the aid of the patches or meds, that does not mean those don't help, because there are plenty of success stories, it was just not our choice. I would like to encourage you to quit smoking and stick to it no matter how strong the desire gets, you CAN do it!!
  • Thank you all for the comments, and yes i do have all of those fears... I feel so guilty after I smoke! Yet still, I will smoke! It's so depressing and after everything that has gone on in my life this past year, I just want things to get back to normal... but that will never happen! And as I come to terms with that I think that it will be much easier for me to quit! Again, thank you for your encuragement!!
  • I'm going to be the opposing side. Yes, we all know all of the reasons to quit smoking. But I think your dr is way overblowing his statistics...... 500%!!!!! If that was true no one would fuse who smokes. I quit for 1 week before my fusion, and 2 weeks after. Then I would just smoke a few, and we know where that leads :D I fused just fine.

    There are a lot of reasons for non-fusion, and smoking is only one of them. Stress is also a big one. Age, hormons in body, either pre or post menopausal, amt of calcium. Nutrition. Anyway, lots of reasons.

    I'm NOT advocating smoking, but I hate to see you so upset and worried about it.

    I'll probably get yelled at lots for this post, but did want to present the other side of the issue, so you don't feel totally alone. Do the best you can, that's all anyone can do. Good luck with healing, check on your nutrition so you are providing the building blocks for healing. Follow all your dr's post surgery instructions, and good luck.

    Maggie
  • I smoke also! I know its not good for bone growth. I will say however, my bones are fusing on my first post opp check the x rays showed fusion on both disks and all surfaces. (note) I do use a bone growth stimulator and have done so since day one post opp.
  • I am having surgery sometime in Jan for c4 to c6. This will be the second one for me. I smoked for 30yrs and my surgeon said he would not touch my neck if I smoked. I even have to take a pee test to make sure I have no nicotine in my system. I have not had a cigarette since 10/01/09. I am doing ok, with out smoking. I guess my desire to feel better is more then my wanting to smoke. Good Luck
  • You wont fuse properly if you smoke . It is true in most cases. You will need the wonderful metal plate and screws which in itself can cause pain. Adr is better for smokers but once you are fused it is too late for adr. Good luck but dont be surprised if you have a loose piece of bone that isnt fused between youre vertebre.

  • Hi Tiechia, welcome to Spine Health. Sorry to hear about your accident - I am sure you have really been through a lot since it happened. Smoking- my Dr.s will not touch my spine until I stop. OK, so I started smoking an ecig about 4 wks ago. It seems to be working great. I don't even miss the regular cigs but the e cigs still have nicotine in them. So, I will be reducing the nicotine level by half this week and each week following until I am down to -0-. Should be nicotine free by the end of Jan.

    I have tried Chantex and it worked ok, but I just couldn't keep it down with all the other meds I'm on. Oh, almost forgot, my Dr. is happy that I am tobacco free now - I will admit that I feel a lot better since I have stopped the tobacco. Good luck!

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