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Nicotine use prior to surgery and Bone Growth Stimulator

3rd post today but haven't had time to get a few questions out.

At every Dr appt I go to, whether its my PCP, a specialist of ammt kind, PM provider and even my Neurosurgeon. They all ask.the same thing, do you smoke or have you ever smoked. What they don't ask is if I was a nicotine user or currently use nicotine.

Well a week prior to.my L5S1 fusion six weeks ago, I came across the impact of smoking on successful fusing, then read it was the nicotine, not the smoking.

Well I've used smokeless tobacco, also known as dipping or chewing, for quite some time. Did it from my Marine Corp days starting at 19 until 29. I then quit til 3 years ago (at age 41) and started again. Just one "dip" with a buddy, and hooked again. Was using quite a bit for past 3 years.

Well I QUIT cold turkey the week before surgery. I have not touched it since nor will I. Perfect time to quit cause it took reading.that my chances of fusing while using nicotine after a fusion can decrease the success by 30%. So I know the nicotine is out of my system.

So at my 6 week follow up a week ago, I mentioned the use of nicotine and success rate and also said they need to specifically ask about nicotine and not just smoking. He obviously aksed if I used any type of nicotine, I said off the record, "maybe I use too". He asked me if I wanted to apply for a BGS however there has to be reasons for the insurance companies to approve it, and knowing ALOT about the insurance business, I said not at this point. Not wanting something in my medical file is important but obviously if it would.make a difference in success, I'd try and get one.

Ive read.that there is a lot of questions on whether these do much anyway. And me quitting prior to surgery and during recovery, curious to hear feedback on your experience, knowledge of success for those quitting prior to surgery and if they " really" make a difference in general or even in my situation.

Right now.I'm more concerned about low testosterone levels as I had mine tested at pre-op and I was way low. I've read that low test can impact bime growth substantially. Maybe that's referring to real bone, as in a growing child or teenegaer. But I plan on speaking to my med providers about this anyway.

Thanks for any feedback..


  • I quit smoking 20 years ago but in the past year picked up vaping. Even though I use a small dose, it was enough to alert my Dr. And so I got the bone growth stimulator. I'll see at my 8 week check up tomorrow. Otherwise I'll switch to zero nicotine. Stupid habit. Congrats on quitting! I'm also 52 so my age probably doesn't help. I'm also taking D3 and a high potency multivitamin.
  • Had my Dr. Appointment today and even though I use nicotine, I'm getting some good bone growth at 9 weeks post op. I use the BGS 2 hours a day and it looks like its helping. Doctor says I'm doing great. Going back to work next week part-time then full time after two weeks. I can't believe what our bodies can do. Very grateful for my doctor and his amazing staff. They've been terrific throughout this.
  • I only had a 2 and 6 week follow up. They said they can't tell any bone growth this early. Maybe I will shoot him a message cause I can go through this again. Quitting was a lot easier this time around cause it scared the crap out of me when I read that it can really impact a fusion. Great news for you but hoping to get some.more feedback too, like yours, something positive.lol!!
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