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aliciav78aaliciav78 Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
What are peoples take on smoking and a back fusion??? I quit but have had a few the past few days. I had surgery 8 days ago.


  • First, congrats for quitting recently! My husband quit after 16 years of smoking, and I know how difficult it can be.

    With regards to your question, I work for two surgeons, and I know from discussions with them that smoking inhibits your body from healing as quickly. In fact, they won't do surgery on anyone who is still smoking, as it is too great of a risk.

    I can certainly understand how revisiting your old habit can help alleviate the stress of what you have been through with your surgery, but I would encourage you to go back to not smoking - not only for the sake of your body healing from what is a very intensive surgery, but also for the long-term benefit that you will receive overall.

    Hang in there!

  • I had a 2 level PLIF 15 months ago, and am having problems with the disc above my fusion that had issues before the fusion,
    I healed well, but facing another fusion now, I would stongly suggest that you quit, at least until you are fused. I would hate to go through all of that pain and recovery to have it fail by something that I could have prevented by not smoking.
    I know that the risks of failure are higher if you smoke and would not want to chance having to go through it all over again. Just my opinion, but look at the statistics and you will see that it can greatly effect the outcome. Good Luck, and hopefully you can quit. Take Care, Robin
  • My orthopedic surgeon urged me to quit prior to surgery. I cut way back, from 2 packs per day to 5 per day up to day of surgery on 2/2/10. I was given Wellbutrin right after surgery to help with any withdrawal or urges to smoke.

    My surgeon told me that beside nicotine being a poison to your bones, the constricting of blood vessels and the lack of oxygen is the biggest problem when fusing. Fusion rates are also lower in smokers so quitting really does make sense to get the best results.

    It's hard to quit, I know, and I'm still taking the Wellbutrin. I won't lie, I've snuck in a few since surgery, maybe 5, and I kick myself each time.
  • It's really not "people's take" on smoking and fusion. This is one area where clinical trials and research is very clear. The possibility for non fusion is about 8% in non-smokers, and goes up to 40% in smokers.

    Smoking has an effect an every system in the body, but it is particularly hard on the body's ability to form new bone. It just doesn't make sense to go through all the trauma of major surgery and then sabotage your body's chances for full recovery by smoking.

    If possible, do everything you can to avoid smoking.

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