Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Smoking after fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Found this on another site: Smoking is by far the greatest factor that can prevent fusion. Nicotine is a toxin that inhibits bone-growing cells. If you continue to smoke after your spinal surgery, you could undermine the fusion process. Does smoking Medical Marijuana have the same effects as tobacco?


  • If you continue your research you will discover that marijuana does not contain nicotine, hence the answer to your question.

  • they blame smoking for everything,you know thats what stater both world wars,thats why is snow to much,thats why i didn't get my order right from mcdonalds.all this and more because of smoking.i have fuse twice already and now fusuing again.i smoke 3 packs a day.
  • So the nicotine is the problem. Did not know if the Carbon Monoxide had anything to do with proper healing. The studies I have read show CRAZY odds that people who smoke Cigarettes have failed fusions. I wonder how accurate this is. I have been a cigarette smoker for years. I quit 4 months prior to my surgery. I did not quit because of my surgery I quit because I was smoking cloves (Djarum) and President Obama banned them in The United States. I do not smoke Marijuana (Job will not allow it) but know several people with neck and spine problems that do and was wondering what the effects are on fusion healing.
  • The Carbon Monoxide does bind faster with hemaglobin than Oxygen does and in essence decreases the amount of oxygenated blood circulating through the body. By doing that, you limit the body's ability to benefit from any physical exercise which is essential in healing from surgery and encouraging a good fusion. So if you look at it from that perspective, then yes the CO in marijuana would be potentially counter productive in spinal fusion. Since the maximum benefit from Marijuana is from the inhalation of the smoke, then higher CO concentrations are probable.

  • (this is an extract from a longer article. one of many studies on smoking and how it affects the body).

    Cigarette Smoking and Failed Fusion

    Certain factors have been found to affect the success of spinal fusion. Some of these factors include the patient's age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), and cigarette smoking. There is growing evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. As mentioned previously, new bone growth is necessary for a fusion to heal.

    Research has demonstrated that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. In a study of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion (fusion of the neck), it was observed that smokers had an increased rate of nonunion (up to 47%) as compared to non-smokers.1

    Another study evaluated tobacco use in patients who underwent lumbar (low back) fusion. The patients who smoked had failed fusions in up to 40% of cases, compared to only 8% among non-smokers. Similar findings have been reported in other studies as well.

    Post-Operative Infection

    Cigarette smoking compromises the immune system and the body's other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient's susceptibility to post-operative infection. A study conducted by Thalgott et al showed that cigarette smoking was a risk factor for infection following spinal fusion.

  • Wow the percentages of failed fusion really goes up for Smokers. I'm still wondering if all this holds true for people who smoke Marijuana thats prescribed to them. Several people report pain relief from medical marijuana versus taking a Pharmaceutical Narcotic ie.. Vicoden, Norco, Percocet. I'm just wondering if the effects of Smoking Marijuana are the same as Smoking Tobacco. I can't seem to find a clear answer. Maybe this has not been researched.
  • I think you're talking about two different processes.

    The pain relief that results from marijuana use affects the same pain receptors in the brain that are hit by the "pharmaceutical narcotics."

    But does the PROCESS OF SMOKING marijuana result in the same problems/issues for the spinal patient that come from smoking tobacco?

    My guess is this has been well researched....
  • Thank you gwennie17. This is much easier to understand.

    Does the PROCESS OF SMOKING marijuana result in the same problems/issues for the spinal patient that come from smoking tobacco?

    Now if i could only find the answer. It really doesn't matter since I Quit Smoking Thanks to President Obama and I can't Smoke Marijuana due to my Job requirements. I'm just bored not being able to do anything since I'm only 1 week post op from my ACDF C5 C6. I've been walking alot and I've been reading way to much online. When I saw the risk factors about Smoking I just became really curious and have not been able to find the answer.
  • I am quitting smoking very soon, like this weekend, my surgery is in a month, but I quit for 6 months about 4 months ago, on Nicotine lozenges, now if your taking nicotine that way for cravings, or do you have to be nicotine free? My doctor pretty much told me if I was smoking, he would not even do the surgery because he has seen them fail so much. They said noting about the nicotine just the fact, that cigerrette smoking, you just won't heal right, lack of oxyegen, and other bad chmeicals besides nicotine. I am quitting this time for good. If I'm still on the lozenges in a month, that will give me incentive to get off quick.

    I wouldn't think POT would be good just because of the spastic coughing fits from it.
  • I just found my answer googling, total nicotine free. We'll I want this to work. I got work to do thanks. :)
  • In the Mind Body Spirit forum there is a smoking topic. I don't know if this will give you any maryjane info, but it is full of nicotine info. I quit smoking cigs with Chantix approx 7 weeks before my surgery and I am still smoke free. After my Dr quoted failure rates of fusion at over 70% and my ease of developing infection after surgeries, quitting was worth it. Still got an infection, but X-rays etc show I am already fusing. So I know to never say never but I will NEVER smoke again. Let the feds get their taxes off someone else.

    :) :)

  • Look into vaporizing if you are going to use marijuana. You don't inhale all of the extra junk like you do smoking it. Just a thought.
  • The anti-smoking police blame smoking for everything. FWIW I've had three fusions the first one I didn't smoke, the other two I didn't stop. The last two actually have better bone production and are stronger! I'm going to have surgery again in a month or so and I won't quit smoking then either.
  • Retiredbosn,

    I think you have been incredibily lucky to fuse in spite of smoking, obviously you have something going for you, that maybe others don't. Or maybe it's all BS and smoking really doesn't matter.

    I had been thinking about quitting for approx 6 months prior to finding out I would need a fusion surgery. And it was really due to vain reasons, it was really effin up my skin. Smoke lines around my mouth, crows feet, just too many wrinkles for my age. So I quit for many reasons.

    Best of luck with your upcoming surgery and SMOKE 3 for me LOL.

  • My surgeon refuse to do my 1st fusion if I was a smoker, so I quit. I have been smoke free since 2007, and guess what? One of my levels still not fuse! And my surgery was 2 years ago..... So, I don't know what to think anymore!
  • Considering smoking is known to cause all kinds of terrible diseases, I think that if you quit & still don't fuse, at least you will have much lower chances of developing emphysema, throat & lung cancer... :) Congrats to all that quit successfully, I know it's hard since I've done it myself as well.

    And +1 to JasonCamaro, vaporizers are awesome.
Sign In or Register to comment.