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Precious BamaPPrecious Bama Posts: 34
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been reading about different things that might be a problem with fusion such as malnutrition and smoking. Has anyone here had the fusion surgery and also smokes.


  • So, the way the question was asked implies that you are looking for a current smoker; that is not me, then. However I have smoked for 25 years at 1 pack per day until 2 weeks, 4 days, 11 hours, and 37 minutes ago...... and here is why.

    Smoking introduces many chemicals into the blood stream, but the worst is simple carbon monoxide. Nicotine make the blood vessels smaller and restrits flow to very needy cells, like the disks. Carbon Monoxide actually prevents those same very needy disk cxells from gettin oxygen.

    The two together are nasty on delicate structures like our disks, lungs, and new bone growth. From what my surgeion told me, the number one reason he has failed surgery syndromes with his patients is becuase they continue to smoke after a fusion or bone groeth related procedure.

    Quitting has not been easy and it tries me every single day; but I and my wife are resolute in quitting so that the procedure will have a better chance of success and a repeat will not be needed.

    Hope it helps, Best Wishes..........
  • Very good info strayl

    Im a smoker.
    I fused great with my cervical fusion in 04. Within 6 months. I did not fuse with my lumbar fusion from sept 07. I discussed this with the dr at my appt on the 29th. we are re doing surgery again.
    He said there is really no correct answer on that. Reason yes but as for knowing why some do and some do not well thats a tuff one.
    Some patients fuse, some do not. He has had patients not fuse that have not smoked a day in their life.

    I will say I am going to quit before surgery. Just in case it was that. I do not want a 3rd.
    And of course if I do not fuse we know the answer to that question if I do quit.

    Just remember everyone is different. Healing and recovering is different for each person.

    I will be starting the chantix. I will let you know how that goes. But right now before surgery cigs are my pacifier for pain. Since it is so uncontrolled right now.

    Look in the smoking section you may find some more information in there.

    Good luck to you!!! :)
  • I used to smoke 30 day day (40 a day in the last few years) and did that for 30 years. :jawdrop:
    My O/S wouldn't operate until I had stopped smoking for minimum 6 weeks - enough time to get the nicotine out of my system. I went onto Champix (Chantix) and though it wasn't easy it was a lot easier then going cold turkey or using nicotine replacement (have to stop that 2 weeks prior to surgery.
    So I stopped 2 months prior then ceases the champix 2 weeks prior but started it again after surgery.
    DO I miss it? Yep, but not nearly as much as I did at first.
    I miss the habit and when I had a fall the other day I really wanted on to help calm me down but I coped well without it.
    The Doc said I must stay off for a min of 3 months post surgery, but I cant see myself going back, it is far too expensive now anyway.

    There is a forum on smoking that is worth reading as well.
    Good luck!

  • Hi Precious:


    I have never been a smoker. I had a TLIF, L2/3 fusion and I fused in 6 weeks.

  • hi there,
    just thought i'd add my 2 cents.
    i have smoked quite heavy all my adult life.
    i am now 43 - a year ago i had a L4/5 fusion and i managed to give up smoking 6 weeks prior to surgery - i went cold turkey - it was hard but i didnt want to wake up from the anaesthetic coughing and spluttering - its disgusting. i work with an anaesthetist daily so see it all the time.
    but low and behold 2 weeks after surgery i was in sooo much pain that i restarted smoking again - wrong, i know but i felt that it helped me deal with the pain.
    i had to have another surgery to remove some metalwork that was impinging on the nerve root in sept 07 and finally on the 3rd feb 08 i gave up smoking again with the help of champix. i have never had a craving and i feel that is has been the best experience of stopping smoking.
    i had more reason to fuse that most - as i only had half of my metalwork holding it all together. i was petrified that i would end up having to have another op. and OMG i would never want another - after the pain i have suffered.
    so, yes some people fuse when they smoke and some people dont fuse who have never smoked, but your chances of fusing are greater if you are a non smoker.
    hope this helps,
    AJ x
  • My Neurosurgeon would not do surgery until I was stopped!!! I had a three level fusion on Feb. 8th. He even did blood tests on me before surgery twice to test the "carbon Monoxide" in my blood before he would perform my fusion. My husband and I stopped with Chantix. What a miracle drug. It works excellent!!! I quit for 5 months!!! I was so proud, and felt so good, and knew I was on the road to stopping for good!!

    My husband started back about 3 months ago, and it's been HELL!!! Really HELL!!! You cannot quit unless your spouse does the same, and sticks to it!!! He would smoke in the car around me, smoke out in the garage around me, (we do a lot of stuff in our garage).... Just no disregard at all towards my patience.

    I started again. Not as bad, but still I do it once in a while. At my 20 week post-op x-ray visit, I'm fusing nicely. I guess that's when I really thought it was ok to go ahead and smoke a few. So I don't know, I'm absolutely concerned about it, cause I know how important is is to NOT smoke with our fusions. I think about it every time I light one. He says he's going to quit again, but hasn't so far.... Like I said, this is really rough!!! You absolutely cannot be around a smoker if your trying to quit. It doesn't work!!
  • :<
    I know I shouldn't of, and I never told my Neurosurgeon either. I had a L5-S1 Fusion and had bno problems with the fuseing itself. That is what they worry about with the smokeing. Hope this helps!

  • So you did not stop? Did you fuse ok? were you scared that it would not fuse?
  • No I did not stop and I fused great. I am only 30 though so that may of contributed to the fast healing? I was not scared because I didn't know the smoking could affect the fusion. I think what really helps is having a good Neurosurgeon, PT and having a positive attitude!

    Good Luck
  • I had to stop. I am waiting for my surgery date and my NS told me last month I had to stop ASAP. He told me they do a urine test before the surgery and if there is even a trace amount of nicotine in there they would cancel the surgery right there. So less/no pain.....or smoking. Hmmmm I quit that day. I've had a few slip ups but I have to keep reminding myself of why I had to quit. It's been a long 3 weeks though! :''(
  • I smoked for over 30 years....at least two packs a day...often the better part of 3 packs.... and non-filters for at least 1/2 the time. I did a lot of other stuff too being a professional musician and living the rock 'n roll life.

    I quit everything about 8 years ago. After many failed attempts at quitting...having tried hypnotism, Nicorette, cold turkey and various reduction/replacement type methods.....I woke up one morning between Christmas and New Year hacking up a lung as usual....and I said to myself "that's it, I am sick of it , I am DONE!!" and I tossed the pack and never looked back.

    After having really struggled so many times I was surprised, still am, at how easy it was. No withdrawals, no cravings, no headgames, no nothing...it was just gone. I was able to be around my friends who smoked and it did not phase me.

    I had my L3/4 fusion last year...ALIF and PLIF a day apart and I showed that I was fused at my 8 week checkup. I am now a little over a year post op and the fusion is solid enough I am going in to have the hardware removed if the insurance company approves it.

    The benefits are so many it is a no brainer. You have to quit.

    When I am near a smoker now I hate that I smelled that way for so long. It is like you can smell right down into their lungs...foul smoke smell...it is gross. I hate that I discarded so many butts as litter really, I hate that I put my friends and family through that. It really is a nasty habit and I am so thankful and happy that I was able to quit.

    And then there is the financial benefit. 8 years at roughly $10 a day is about $29,000 in savings...PLUS...everytime I went to the 7-11 I pulled a $20 and would get cigs, a soda and candy bar or coffee and a donut and maybe a magazine.....I would blow a $20 every day. Now I never go in a 7-11 at all.....I pull no money from ATM's just to get that fix....so really I have saved a lot more.

    Sorry to sound arrogant....I want it to be inspiring if possible.

    If I can quit, you can too.
  • would you even want to take the chance of screwing up your fusion for the sake of a cigarette? It isnt worth it. If stopping smoking help contribute to the fusion n the slightest little bit than isnt it worth it? If you need something to calm your nerves ask the doctor for some meds. I wouldnt want to have to chance having to jump on that surgery table again.

    Best Wishes,
    Christina :)
  • I've been thinking of your question and this post for the lst few days and one thing that I didn't mention is that after surgery if you have to cough IT FEELS LIKE YOU'VE GONE TO HELL! image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />
    I am not kidding, it is the worst pain if you cough or sneeze and I remember so many times being grateful that I had stopped smoking as I used to cough regularly when I did.
    So no matter if it is good for you or not, if your Doc says stop or not. For you own pain levels - do yourself that favour.
    I know you probably feel like you are being bombarded on this thread but many of us have been there and understand what you are going through. For a lot of us smoking is a crutch and pre and post surgery is when we need it most right? Find something else :SS I started chewing gum, oh and I used to brush my teeth a lot :O - I liked the taste of the toothpaste and it took my mind off the ciggs.

    Hope we have been able to help you- even if you didn't get the response that you were looking for.

    It is just not worth the pain.

    Blessings Sara
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