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Smoking and Drinkin After Fusion...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,623
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Don't shoot the messenger here..... This is a true story/question.

I know you are not supposed to smoke after a fusion - but what happens if you do?

What about alcohol consumption?

Now that I have had back surgery, people come out of the woodwork asking me questions - this one came up from one of my husband's friends. Regarding a neck fusion.

He works with a guy that is a true alcoholic - drinks EVERYDAY. He says he told the surgeon and they did the surgery anyway. One of his "friends" even brought beer to the hospital.

Anyway - the guy is still a mess - been off work for three months. I told XXXX that "DUH! What the imageis wrong with you!? He is NOT supposed to be smoking or drinking! (He now uses a STRAW to drink because it hurts his neck to lean his head back so often)
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Comments

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    I think the word is out smoking...
    Not sure about alcohol....
    But, if that person is willing to drink through a straw to avoid hurting his neck, I would tend to think he is going to have more problems than just with his neck.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi

    From everything I have read/heard, smoking is bad for so many reasons. If you are on medication and drink alcohol that could have very bad consequences. I agree with Ron, this guy has a lot "going on" besides just recovering from neck surgery!

    Ellen
  • The effect of smoking on fusion is clear, just don't do it if you want to fuse.
    Now as far as alcohol, I asked my surgeon at my 6-weeks checkup and he said since I am not on any kind of narcotics or pain medication, a small amount now and then is OK. I still do it very sparingly, mostly because I don't want anything to influence my balance and cause me to fall down.

    If the person is an alcoholic, of course he should not drink at all, because after taking one sip he will lose control over the amount he consumes. If he is taking any kind of medication, e.g., aspirin or NSAID, alcohol could cause serious problems, like bleeding in the stomach.

    Kin
  • Does anyone know if you are also not supposed to smoke after a disectomy? My surgeon didn;t mention it but I was just curious... Thanks :)
  • The smoking is a no no. As hard as it maybe for some of them to quit smoking tell them to look up the revision surgery. Stopping smoking won't guarantee the fusion but will help the fusion process more than continuing. As far as the drinking I can't believe that someone would operate unless a matter of paralysis. The fact that alcohol contributes to dehydration and could cause issues with other levels. Also he continues to dehydrate himself causing other pain issues with the muscles as well. The other issue is if he is alcoholic i doubt they have ever been able to get his pain under control. I do hope someone gets him some helps and they quit continuing to promote his alcohol issues by doing things like bring it to the hospital.
  • The body's ability to heal itself. I once read somewhere that if you smoke don't even bother having spinal surgery because it's pointless as your recovery will be hindered so much.

    I agree that alcohol and pain meds is not a good mixture, but in some cases, if the person has been drinking large quantities of alcohol for a long time, it can actually be quite harmful if they suddenly stop drinking all at once. I know of a guy who's doctor told him categorically NOT to stop drinking or else it would have killed him. Actually, come to think of it I know of 2 people who have been told this. So it's not as straightforward as it sounds. Don't forget alcohol is a drug and it's not always advisable to go cold turkey if you are addicted to a drug.

    I hope this guy manages to recover despite his vices, and I hope he then finds the strength to make some lifestyle changes.
  • Suprising enough it's not the smoking but the nicotine that couses the bone to become 50-times less likely to fuse (read in scientific study). It shouldn't effect a discectomy though (probably why Doc didn't metion it).
  • Where is this scientific study that shows its the nicoteine that can cause the non-union to happen more often? Id just like to see for myself, i just had an anterior cervical fusion and i quit smoking cig/pot but would like to know if i out the thc in a butter instead of combusting it would it affect my fusion.
    Brooks Dearman
  • Ice manIIce man Posts: 123
    edited 07/26/2015 - 12:58 AM
    I would like to see the first proven study that thc in any form helps any kind of back, or neck fusion. I would be willing to bet there isn't one out there.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,892
    edited 07/26/2015 - 2:27 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Really dont understand why smokers (particularly those who elect to continue smoking after being informed of the risks) should be apportioned resources for corrective surgery.
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