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Smoking and neck surgery (I sure do like my cigs.!)

YankeeYankee Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:37 AM in Stop Smoking
Although my NS hasn't brought up my being a smoker after being in chat I have learned that you should stop smoking before and after surgery because of healing issues regarding bone fusing correctly. I have heard some do smoke with no problems but others have to re do the fine work the NS did before. I love my smokes in fact I am a heavy smoker and get shall we say (worked up a bit if I dont have a smoke). This addition problem it seems is made even harder thinking of having surgery the pressure will really get to me!. I dont know if others in this forum have faced smoking issues. Any suggestions regarding quitting? I dont like that new med. for quiting as the side effects listed sound bad. Opinions?......It has been well known among orthopaedic surgeons for many years that persons who smoke often take a particularly long time to heal fractures. Smoking has also been associated with delayed union and actual non-healing of certain fractures.

Research has begun to accumulate definitely linking smoking to difficulty in healing fractures.

It is felt that smokers have a significant deficiency of oxygen (hypoxia) at the cellular level where the fracture is trying to heal. Fractures heal normally in areas which have good blood supply and a very adequate oxygen supply in the region of the fracture.

The problem has also been observed in orthopaedic procedures in which a bone graft is done to fuse a particular area of the body. Examples of this would be a spinal fusion for certain back conditions, fusion of an arthritic ankle joint, a fusion of joints in the foot and sometimes in the hand. In fact, some orthopaedic surgeons in their practice have insisted that patients stop smoking before elective bone graft surgery is done. They feel that the incidence of delayed healing of bone graft procedures is so high that it would not be worth proceeding with the bone graft surgery while the patient is still smoking.

This delayed process of healing has been observed in almost every type of fracture that orthopaedic surgeons deal with when they are treating patients who smoke.

Obviously, when a fracture occurs in a patient who is presently smoking, it is often difficult to convince the person to stop smoking, since they are already under additional psychological stress because of the injury and its resultant disability.

However, when a person is facing elective bone graft surgery such as a spinal fusion, the orthopaedic spine surgeon will very frequently counsel the person about the possibility of delayed healing and possibly non-healing of the fusion. I have done this myself in several cases where patients were advised strongly to stop smoking before bone graft surgery was attempted. It simply is not reasonable to go ahead with an elective procedure knowing that the bone graft may not heal since the patient is still smoking. Nicotine seems to play a significant role in causing the lack of oxygen to the tissues.



  • well what kind of knew drug do they have to quit!! i smoke and i fusing, i hate it tho but it is hard to quit i do exercise tho lol lol in the pool . i am recovering from my 2nd back surgery.
  • I had success quitting which my Dr. prescribed Wellbutrin for. Wellbutrin has been a long time use for depression and the study showed that many people quit smoking while taking it for depression. It was then put on the market under a different name but you can still use the generic for quitting smoking and it's covered under most health plans. Do speak with your Dr. about somethiing to help you. It takes away the urges. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,789
    I think is Chantix ... Have heard of good sucsess with it .... I smoked through my first and second surgeries .... I am sure it was a contributing factor in the failue - non-union of my first surgery ... that and the use of cadaver bone.

    Personally I'd avoid both of them ... smoking and cadaver bone impants - use your own bone ... its alive and your body "knows" it.

  • charry said:
    I had success quitting which my Dr. prescribed Wellbutrin for. Wellbutrin has been a long time use for depression and the study showed that many people quit smoking while taking it for depression. It was then put on the market under a different name but you can still use the generic for quitting smoking and it's covered under most health plans. Do speak with your Dr. about somethiing to help you. It takes away the urges. Charry
    Wellbutrin sounds interesting to me! the other drug mentioned has many side efects. I will look into it! Thanks!
  • even though i know how bad they are {i am married to a medic } and we both smoke .i love them .even my doctor smokes and the anethesist that did my last operation was a smoker ,i know its bad and even i hate the smell i am for ever washing my hand and never smoke in my home ,but at 3 am when you are full of pain and all the world is sleeping ..50d it i light up i only smoke the very low tar ones 0,1 mg of nicotine .don't beat you self up my friend ,
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  • The new Wellbutrin is not Chantix. Chantix is the new kid on the block for smoking cessation.

    Zyban is the stop smoking version of Wellbutrin SR 250. Many years ago a study showed that lots of patients taking Wellbutrin also quit smoking. Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant. So to market a stop smoking drug GSK just repackaged Wellbutrin as Zyban. It is 100% identical drug.

    Chantix is something totally different and new. It is not an anti-depressant or sold as that. In fact it seems to have the opposite effect in some. That aside it depends on you as to what side effects you have.

    Yankee if you read a dozen or so of the posts yours you'll find some information regarding your questions.
  • I had my surgery over 5 years ago and healed wonderfully. THANK GOD!!! Obviously, no amount of smoking is recommended, but is it ok if I smoke occasionally, as a social smoker, now that the fusion is healed? maybe 2 - 3 cigerettes per month???
  • I had my surgery back in oct. 2010 and have smoked on and off again since then. and if you can believe this..not ONE of my doctor's or nurses when I was in the hospital told me it was bad for fusing!

    so, i am tryin to quit again. I started back up when I started the Lyrica to combat the hunger but it didn't help.

    I am using the commit losenges for now. I am hopeful I can stay quit this time, but who knows. Even my kids know I have a weakness for the suckers!

    I tried Chantix before, and I smoked the entire time while taking it and never lost the urge. It didn't work for me.

    Smoking is my crutch, when I get tired, angry, upset, hungry, etc. it is my escape. I have been smoking on and off since I was in the 8th grade. both parents were smokers. I was doomed from an early age.

    My problem is I LOVE SMOKING! I really do. I hope I can stay quit this time.

  • I had ultimately quit for 3 months. I stopped the day before my surgery. Like you, stress and other things trigger me to want to smoke. Boredom too. I have started to pick it back up...anywhere from zero a day to 5. I have one single smoke left from the last of two packs I held onto since nov 2nd. I gave away almost 2 full cartons. Wishing now that I had them back. I'm going to savor this last one...and try my damndest to not go purchase a pack. Such a waste of money..and Ive saved 390.60 bucks since November 2nd.
  • i posted yesterday on another smoking thread- and i am really upset withmyself- so i will post here too...
    i quit the day before my first fusion ALIF/PLIF (360) L4/5 & L5/S1 in 2001- and i stayed a quitter for almost 4 years... one year following the 2001 fusion- i had another identical fusion - same exact with extra hardware in 2002- and both levels fused beautifully...
    i started smoking again almost 4 years post-op and i just had my 3rd fusion 4 weeks ago today... i had the XLIF/PLIF combo at L3/4... the same surgeon who did my other 2 fusions did this one too- and i smoked until the night before this surgery 4 weeks ago with the intent to quit as i did last time... i did superb for 24 days- and just this past friday i had a horribly stressful day and i smoked. Since then- for the last 4 days i have been smoking again, and i am really upset with myself... my pain has increased somewhat since smoking and i am certain it is a direct result... i am really really struggling emotionally right now as a result of all that comes with post-op issues alone- i just don't know what i am going to do at this point...
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