Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Quick Start Forum Video Tutorial

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.
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

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Anyone still here and struggling with smoking after back surgery?



  • i will be 4 weeks post of from my 6th spine surgery tomorrow- this was my 3rd fusion- i had the PLIF/XLIF combo on 1/25/11... i quit smoking for 3 years for my other 2 fusions (ALIF/PLIF and PLIF) and started back over 3 years post fusion.
    THIS time- i stopped smoking the day before surgery and i stopped cold turkey for 25 days- and i have been smoking again for the last 3-4 days...
    my husband is still a smoker- and even though he smokes way less then me and NO WHERE near me or the house- i have access to cigarettes- and i had an extremely stressful event the other day that led me to light one up...
    i have had a more difficult recovery with this surgery than my others- not sure if it is my age? i am 41 now and was 32 and 33 for last fusions... i dont know- but i am very concerned right now with my recovery- my pain has increased over the last few days that i have been smoking- i am really struggling as it is right now and am just beating myself up over doing what i KNOW to be so dangerous for my fusion... i have posted in other areas looking for feedback and or support as to the issues i am experiencing and have been unable to find ANYTHING or hear back... anyway- it was bittersweet finding this thread- i just dont know what i am going to do...
  • It stands to reason that bystarting to smoke again,you circulation will have decreased again,as it does with smokers,this could have a direct relationship with the nerves & the strength of the signal they are sending.
    I smoked with my first fusion,which failed to fuse,as I was warned.But have stopped now for the 2nd fusion/revision.Post 3.5 months.

    On the note of the operation being a complete loss now,you have started smoking,maybe not.As you had time not puffing,from the time of the operation for a further 15 days.Only time will time that one.
    But if you stop again now,as you have proven to yourself you are able---The chances would be so much Greater.Be wise,even if its only while you are HEALING.
    All the Best for you---I know its Hard!Just for a while ,if nothing else.Good luck.
  • advertisement
  • Had laminectomy and two level fusion almost 25 years ago and smoked the whole time, even in the hospital.Was 24 years pain free. One of the success stories. The past year had the same old back prob and my surgeon said it really wouldn't make a difference in my recovery if I quit or not because of my 40 year habit. Boy, was I shocked by his response, so I quit for 7 weeks pre-op and 4 days prior to surgery was so freaked out that I started smoking again. The doctor said he can fix my back but if I die of lung cancer that's my problem. I have been using a 10 hour bone growth stimulator since 2 week post op. I think the laying around and being in constant post op pain made me smoke like a chimney because it is my go to drug to calm me down. Have used chantix in the past and I think it is good because it helps with the urges. I so believe it is not the nicotine withdrawal that is tough, it is all the behavioral. You know, cup of coffee..cig, bored..cig.. if you smoke outside, don't go out side. Bought the e-cigs last week and they are pretty cool, but when my daughter comes to visit and has cigs, of course I smoke like crazy. It is all a mind over matter and you just have to make up your mind that you don't want to be a smoker and a "loser/pariah" anymore.
    Hopefully soon I will get tough and conquer this addiction, but, who knows...can only hope that I will smarten up. Intellectually, I get it, but emotionally, I am struggling. I figure if I got 24 good years smoking from my last fusion, I may be lucky again. I guess I am a risk taker and a fool when it comes to this stupid habit/addiction. Time will tell.
    I have the utmost respect for all the quitters out there. They are my heroes!!!
  • Howdy Rascal,

    When my new surgeon looked over my disaster of a neck, and saw I now graduated (cough) to 5 bloody levels thanks to a failed fusion - it cascaded most of my neck.

    He was very strong to say my neck was NO longer stable, not safe in virtually *any* car accident etc... Would need to be posteriorly fused 5-6 levels...*BUT* he wouldn't touch me with a "ten foot pole" unless I quit smoking.... I actually toyed with quitting for years, but my little brain needed a "logical boost", not a health boost, not "aunt Millie boost", a "Brenda boost", as we can only stop/quit internally for ourselves.

    I'm now almost 3 weeks no ciggies, and quit cold turkey (didn't want replacement stuff....just wanted long term stuff out), and wow,....not as bad as I was figuring it would be!?! Due to the comments from my GP's exam of me this week, my surgeon moved my surgery to the next 2 to 3 weeks vs...possibly 5 weeks from now. Whew!!! :)

    I'll have the "official planned surgery date" this Friday. Yes!! At any rate, can the 'beast' sneak back in, sure. It is how you decide mentally why you quit, and what your thoughts are about smoking. I will never bash a person who decides to continue to smoke, as I was lucky that my friends did state their concerns, but didn't smack me over the head with them...as they knew, as an adult, it was my mindset, and my decision.

    The last time I tried to quit (in the late 80's), it was an anxiety disaster!!! This go around, odd....comfortable? I think internally, aside from my body, my brain *finally* (lol) got on board? So I guess, a big part of quitting is "you", and your internal reasons and decision. Do I feel I could light up again, you betcha... but my conscious brain knows this is 'from the brain' and not the physical needs (addiction) of my body. So I distract my thoughts, sing a song, tap the toes...another words give my brain something else to think about. My big fear (chuckle) was driving - loved to smoke driving. Oddly, the LEAST smoke stressed area it seems?? Weird... Let your gut tell you if and when you can do it...

    Sorry, they've proven nasty ass pictures of lung cancer, arteries falling apart, us coughing etc... doesn't do, we dig in harder. *We* as the smoker has to decide when "enough is enough", and it will happen? There...my take on it, and only 3 weeks "ex-smoker" but...I am past the physical part - with no replacements, and no drugs...and I feel GRRREAAATTTT!!! (sorry, Tony the Tiger mode off... )

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • 6 weeks from fusion laminectomy. Pain in leg still bad. Psychologically cannot not smoke. As such am sure I have already spoiled my recovery since I am still in pain. Given up hope.
  • advertisement
  • I am beating myself up and sick with fear over having a cigarette every couple of days. I was never a big smoker but a morning cig. and one in the evening was my habit. It's been harder to break than I expected.
    I didn't realize that there was such a thing as a failed fusion. What my surgery was only a week ago so I'll keep you posted on my progress. Glad I found this forum
  • Just had 4,5 5,6 6,7 fused and I'm only in week 2 of recovery and I've smoked3 cigarettes. What happens if it doesn't fuse?
    Guess I better google that......how did your surgery results end up turning out?
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I smoke from nerves. that is my trigger. My Dr recently put me on Xanax about 2 weeks before my fusion. I would like to say I quit 100% but that is not the case. I cannot seems to give up my morning cig. The rest of day I am ok. People listen to me, I was a 4 times failed fusion in the cervical area and have no doubt smoking was the reason. If you don't want to go thru what I have been thru in the last 12 years then put them down. I know I should listen to my own advice. I am going ot buy the patch today and hope that it helps. Ive tried the electronic cig and think that helps somewhat but your still smoking. Lets all do this together, it is so easier when you have a support group to talk you out of smoking. Im in who else is?
  • I had a microdisectomy on 6/27/13 and have been trying off and on to quit. It's so hard because I'm home all day by myself and am limited to activity. I reherniated in September and had an injection. Not much relief since then so I'm having another injection on 10/29 and then starting aqua therapy. I just can't seem to understand why I'm having such difficulty quitting when I know how bad it is for me. I woke up this morning and immediately put on a patch and am determined to be smoke free " just for today" and not think about tomorrow. I continue to say the serenity pray to myself hoping that eventually I'll believe it.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • I also can seem to put them down had 4 level in June 25th to be exact but having difficult time since physical therapy is kicking my butt and a smoke sometimes feels like it helps. I need to quit many medical issues and smoking would help that also.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.