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

Fusion&Cigarette smoking

kyadog115kkyadog115 Posts: 266
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Please be honest here....unfortunately,I picked up cigs again(A lot less thani used to smoke) and my fusion is scheduled for Monday.Pre-op is tomorrow.If they see Nicotien,perhaps he will not operate....possibly?I need this surgery as Im in terrible pain. I guess I just been frazzled and started to smoke. I would think they'd find that understandable. I'm dredding this....please advise...even after surgery, I know it inhibits fusion, but If I dont smoke too too much,what r the chances of fusing?


  • I had to quit before my surgery too. Didn't you have to quit before your last fusion?
  • My NS knew I smoked, and warned me of the possible negative (lack of fusion - slow to fuse) side affects. My first fusion was so quick it blew his mind! Even this last one that is a mess, he isn't attributing it to smoking since the bone cracked - but does still advise I need to quit. Not just for the future surgeries, but my overall health. The part that makes it so hard for me, is I still enjoy smoking. Grrrrr..

    I've found that the Orthopedic Surgeon's are more hard line on smoking than the NeuroSurgeon's. I still don't get that. Sorry for your slip. Hopefully your doctor won't be too hard on you. Who knows, once the surgery is done and you have calmed down, it will be that much easier to once again quit? Support *HUGZ* to ya.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Unfortunally i still smoke.
    I did before the surgery, my 2 surgeons advised me to stop, but did'nt force the issue.
    I told them i had cut the habit in 1/2, and they appaulded me for it.

    I am 6 months post-op, and i have been wearing a bone growth stimulator for the past 6 months.
    I see my doctor next week and then he will probably tell me i can stop wearing it.
    I had a ct-scan 1 1/2 months ago and i am fusing.

    But only you can decide. Good luck.
  • This ain;t my 1st rodeo.
    I had 2 cervical fusion's in the mid-90's, and i smoked then.

    I'll never learn. 8}
  • Do you think it's bad enough though that they would cancel surgery?? I have heard of the military doctors putting off surgeries like this for active duty members still smoking, but never in the civillian world.

    Do they do that for smoking.. for you Kyadog, gosh i hope not!! i still smoke a little bit, but not everyday. Just at certain times..

    Good luck in your surgery!

  • I just read your fun story. Holy sh*t, what do you do in your spare time. ;)

    For someone that young, you've had a lifetime of injuries.
    Well things have to get better, they cant get much worse. Be careful out there.
  • Thanks for the replies all.......I did smoke when I had the ACDF in 08, that Neurosurgeon did not tell me to quit and I fused well and actually ahead of schedule. I had a 3 level back then. But, In speaking to this new Neuro,he says he will not operate if I didnt quit 4 weeks before surgery.He says Lumbar fusion is more difficult to fuse than Cervical. I was on Chantix and it helped me immensely. I did quit for a while but that was back In August,I've since picked them back up. However, I used to be a 2 pk per day smoker. I'm down to about 1 pk. For me, That initself is a blessing. I'm retired ,alone and thats what I seem to do....sit here on puter, have a cocktail and smoke. As sad as that is!I dont know if he;ll out right refuse to operate, I would find that to be extreme, but who knows,these guys are a bit tempermental.
  • Before I retired, I was sent for a "FFDE" (Fitness For Duty Exam) and this doctor was a spine specialist, and an OrthoSurgeon. I wasn't seeing him as you can see for a surgical consult, although in many ways it did end up being one. With that all said, he point blank told me that *all* of his fusion patients will be nicotine free for 4 weeks before surgery, or he won't do the surgery. I hadn't even replied yet, and he added that he does have a blood test run the morning of the surgery - any nicotine, no surgery. Some are like that. At least he was straight up about it.

    My first fusion unlike yours was only 1 level, but like you I fused in record time too! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • If i get approved for ssdi, thats what i'll be doing also.
    Surgery i just had is a TLIF 2 level fusion at l4/l5/s1, with cages and 2 rods and 6 screws.
    The smoking part, i'm the same as you also.
  • Hmm, This guys like that too. When i saw him last I said to him,"I know some surgeons wont operate if one smokes"& he said.."I'm one of them"........I find that a bit extreme, I mean c'mon....i been a smoker for over 35 years and while I know they r a killer and disgusting, it isnt all that e-z to stop.I would find it unfair and frankly absurd if he cancels this operation because I relapsed on Cigarettes.....Frankly, i had many other detrimental vices that w/the Lords help, I quit.I am onlu human and not perfect, I tried the best I could. I need this surgery for pain relief. I been on Narcotic pain killers for over 2 years that they)Dr's) got me addicted to......am I supposed to b expected to just "quit" those too? GGEEE
  • Kyadog,

    Unfortunately with me, you're singing to the Choir as I fully agree with everything you just posted. I do understand their concern, but too *they* should understand stress, and with stress we as smoking "addicts" cuz we are, are prone back to those habits! I will keep my fingers crossed that he has a logical and caring side of him. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sorry, didnt mean to "Preach" but yeah, I hope he is reasonable and thanks for crossing those fingers...careful u dont burn one w/that cig in ur hand...lol
  • No darlin, I didn't see you as preaching at all. The term of "singing to the choir" just echo's that I fully know what you mean. :) As for crossing fingers, heh, no problem, I used the other hand! (G) Good to see you are keeping your sense of humor! That is hard to do sometimes in spiney land! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Jim
    Yeah, thats the trouble.u see I worked for NYS right outta high school. I think I started back in 1980...so, I never really took a hobby or anythiing like that cuz I worked as a Security Officer and I worked 12/16 hrs a day most of that time.....close to 30 years. So, In my spare time....I dont do a lot, drink, watch music vids on u-tube and I take care of Mt German Shepherd thats 6 years old now. My best friend and constant companion. I have 2 x wives.1 has nothin to do w/me but the other 1 and I r still friends and she will help me after this is over. So, to make a long story short......retirement blows and my life sucks. Compounded w/all these medical problems
  • Kyadog,

    I know you were replying to Jim, but your closing of how retirement blows and your life sucks got my attention. Now that you are retired, how about starting to look around a hobbies you *can* do now that you have the time and no boss anymore? I recently retired, and am now finding it is the best 'new career' a girl can have! Sorry, I get cuddly when I see someone sad - especially when maybe even the smallest of changes can make such happy changes. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda,
    Thank You Dear,much appreciated. UR right, I have no boss,a good income, and all the time in the world. If and when I get thru this operation and feel better,I intend on making positive changes in my life.
    I see ur in Fl, I'm in NY...starting to get cold here already. I've vacationed many times in Miami Bch...unfortuantely,I bought a house here in June,otherwise laying on a beach all day in warm sunny Fl,could make for a nice hobby..lol...
  • I was bumped by a Hammerhead shark years ago, and since then, never went back into salt water! (G) Now you could come down to the Panhandle and hunt for shark teeth! (G) I use to live in Elmira, NY when I flew for FEDEX - loved it up there!!!

    Lessee....New York. Metal detecting for coins and jewelry, hunting for fossils, going to dog shows etc. (G) Just ideas. I too have a good income from my retirement, and that alone takes tons of the stress off our lives. Now I am going to hold you to improving your life once surgery is done and you are back on the healing road!!! :) *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Firstly, I cant say that I blame u, that must have been very scary indeed! That is the problem w/the ocean&salt water.
    Thanks for the suggestions...who knows, maybe I try metal detecting...lol.I know enuff about metal since I have enuff already in my body!!
    I'll let u all know how I do when this is over, provided he operates,which I really think he will..

    Take Care
  • Paul, (nice to meet you!)

    I was in 'their' environment of course! What stinks is most sharks don't like human flesh. Aaah to die as they shark spits us out.."Pwelly, yuck human!" Pass!!

    Metal detecting. Before I retired, one of our mechanics started doing it for a hobby, and unwittingly found much profit in selling much of the jewelry he found! If he found something identifiable to someone he actually tried to find the owner! For whatever reason, people wear all kinds of expensive jewelry when they swim down here. My mechanic friend proved that to us! I even bought some of his finds!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I feel you guys, because I used to smoke myself, mostly for stress relief. (It's been a tough life, but I don't know many who haven't had a problem or two to deal with.)

    That said, as a surgical nurse, I've been there when the patient is brought back in with wounds that failed to heal because the patient just couldn't stop smoking. One woman lost her reconstructed breast for the same reason, and she admitted as much. I've had to help the anesthesiologist who struggle to maintain stable breathing for a patient whose lungs are at least partially compromised/paralyzed by cigarette smoke. They are hard to extubate and usually have tons of secretions that are a risk for inhaling and causing pneumonia. It's not just the surgeon, it's your whole team that goes in with a few strikes against them.

    I know you're stressed, Paul, I know it's hard... but if you're going to demand your doctors and surgeons give their all for you, can't you think of it in terms of doing your best for yourself?? I think you're worth it, I've read your story, and it got to me. If you couldn't do it before surgery, at least contemplate doing it for several weeks afterwards. Get the ciggies out of the house, drink tons of water (help clear your lungs), take Chantix again... just take care of yourself, please.

    The healthcare team wants the best outcome possible for your surgery. Please don't blame them for not being "compassionate" about your stress. Once you're on the table and medicated, the real stress begins.

    OK, down off soapbox -- you know *someone* had to climb up there sometime, didn't you? ;)

    I wish you the best!

  • Hi Kyadog,
    I know exactly what you mean. When I raed that most surgeons would refuse to perform a fusion on a smoker, I tried to quit, using the patches. Unfortunately, I only lasted a day. If I could be more active 7 get out & do things that would make smoking difficult, I might be able to manage, but I pretty much lay here all day watching TV, or surfing the web. I think now I'm smoking just as much out of boredom as addiction.
    I have found a new hobby that i find quite interesting though. I'm studying for my HAM radio license. If nothing else, it will broaden my horizons.
    Let us know how things work out. I too have my fingers & toes crossed for you!!
  • Paul,
    My heart goes out to you I truly hope you can stop smoking before surgery. Personally, if I were in your situation I would print out Babybubbles post and stick it every where in my home. Your surgery is a team effort starting with your willingness to take care of yourself. You can do it, you are in the home stretch. Give yourself the absolute best possible chance for a successful surgery. I will be looking for that post that tells everyone that you trashed those cigs :)
  • Thanks for all the input all. Headed to pre-op soon, we'll see

  • I did actually manage to quit smoking before surgery. My surgeon wasn't joking about giving a test before the surgery. My pre-op testing 2 days before surgery included the nicotine test. He was glad I managed to pass the test, said more then once they had cancelled other surgeries due to failing. That being said I have since started smoking again. I was about 2 1/2 months post op and couldn't stand it anymore. He was disappointed I started smoking again but seemed glad that I was honest about it. He also seemed to understand the addiction.
  • Kyadog:
    Good luck with your pre-op today!

    It's such a difficult issue. Over in the UK they do have special clinics to help people kick the habit and they also provide free patches/pills/inhalers and support etc.

    I did give up smoking for 6 years yonks ago, but was back smoking within 2 weeks after starting a stressful job 6 years ago. I have continued to smoke ever since, but did cut them down before my 2-level fusion 9 weeks ago. Suffice to say, with the boredom of not doing anything but lay down for the first couple of weeks, gradually the smoking has increased. I am now on about 20 per day which I am not proud of.

    I really hope you can kick the habit before your surgery, especially as your surgeon has indicated that he might not proceed if you don't. Very harsh! I was told that smoking really does have a big effect of the quality of the blood and this is why some people do not heal after an operation if they are smokers.

    Perhaps you'll let us know how your pre-op went today? Did they mention anything about smoking?

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • I too had a very strict Neurosurgeon before my cervical fusion. I was told I had to quit one month before the surgery. Many will think this is a cop-out but here you are in agonizing pain, thinking about a forth coming surgery and they tell you to quit. Us smokers tend to smoke more when we are stressed. No excuse as there are no excuses. I did quit the 30 days prior to surgery, then my pre-op visit they tell me they do not do a test. I was so confused and ticked off. This was Mar. 08 and I know they are using nicotine tests more often now.
    And unfortunately I went back to smoking. Many would say I was crazy but after being injured at work and suffering both cervical and lumbar issues, not being able to return to my job, losing my insurance with having a disabled husband, losing our home, losing my voice due to rt. vocal cord being injured I had just had it. I tried really really haed as I wanted to follow the rules and have a good outcome. To this day I am angry at myself for going back and all the things I listed above should not have been an excuse to smoke but I did. For non smokers I tell you it is one of the hardest things to quit and even though I did for two months for some reason it calms me down. My heart goes out to you and I hope you can achieve what I could not. I pray you have no problems getting the surgery done even though you slipped up a bit. Then after your surgery revisit the quitting smoking issue as it does play a big role in the healing process from what I have read and been told.
    Good luck to you and keep us updated on how things go.
  • I am pretty sure if I was a surgeon I could garuntee a sucessfull fusion amost 100% of the time... but due media and our governent and strict guidlines..they would never allow it. I didn't tell my surgeon what I was doing post surgery...but at 10 weeks, he took 1 look at my catscan

    and said.."my god I have never seen anything like this, your back at 10 weeks, is where most people are at 6 months of fusion..right now I dont think anything would stop you from fusing,I just have never seen anything like this"...

    he then proceeded to have the surgeon type attitude about how great of a surgeon he is, and it must be the "Extra protein" he injected into my back..so I will just let him continuing to believe that. Like I am the first back he injected extra protein in. LOL.

    I am sorry I can not give advice on how to garuntee this type of speedy fusion, but I can tell you to learn basic anatomy and how bones fuse and grow at young ages and it might lead you in the right direction.
  • Sue..
    In the States here,they will give u free patches too,but big deal really.We do not have clinice per se'y....there are State run support phone lines. Nonetheless,I agree....we are stressed out over this and then asked to quit smoking,thats a tall order.Ive smoked for over 35 years. I'm sorry u fell back to them but IMO 20 a day isnt too bad. I was a 2 pk a day smoker and i'm down to about 1 pk or under now. Pre-op went well.........ct scan,blood work. I discussed smoking w/a P.A. I told her my story. I actually told her, I smoked about 5 a day. They gave no specific test for nicotein but I'm sure that shows in the blood.I have to call the hosp today after 130(My time) and see what time surgery is Mon(providing they dont cancel)..i really dont know yet.
    Thanks for writing
  • Jan,
    I will let u all know.
  • Why cant u tell me? Obviously u did something right to promote that type of speedy fusion.....protien??
    U say u didn't tell ur Dr what u did post op....did u smoke cigarettes? Whats the secret?
Sign In or Register to comment.