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Smoking after fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Found this on another site: Smoking is by far the greatest factor that can prevent fusion. Nicotine is a toxin that inhibits bone-growing cells. If you continue to smoke after your spinal surgery, you could undermine the fusion process. Does smoking Medical Marijuana have the same effects as tobacco?


  • If you continue your research you will discover that marijuana does not contain nicotine, hence the answer to your question.

  • they blame smoking for everything,you know thats what stater both world wars,thats why is snow to much,thats why i didn't get my order right from mcdonalds.all this and more because of smoking.i have fuse twice already and now fusuing again.i smoke 3 packs a day.
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  • So the nicotine is the problem. Did not know if the Carbon Monoxide had anything to do with proper healing. The studies I have read show CRAZY odds that people who smoke Cigarettes have failed fusions. I wonder how accurate this is. I have been a cigarette smoker for years. I quit 4 months prior to my surgery. I did not quit because of my surgery I quit because I was smoking cloves (Djarum) and President Obama banned them in The United States. I do not smoke Marijuana (Job will not allow it) but know several people with neck and spine problems that do and was wondering what the effects are on fusion healing.
  • The Carbon Monoxide does bind faster with hemaglobin than Oxygen does and in essence decreases the amount of oxygenated blood circulating through the body. By doing that, you limit the body's ability to benefit from any physical exercise which is essential in healing from surgery and encouraging a good fusion. So if you look at it from that perspective, then yes the CO in marijuana would be potentially counter productive in spinal fusion. Since the maximum benefit from Marijuana is from the inhalation of the smoke, then higher CO concentrations are probable.

  • (this is an extract from a longer article. one of many studies on smoking and how it affects the body).

    Cigarette Smoking and Failed Fusion

    Certain factors have been found to affect the success of spinal fusion. Some of these factors include the patient's age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), and cigarette smoking. There is growing evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. As mentioned previously, new bone growth is necessary for a fusion to heal.

    Research has demonstrated that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. In a study of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion (fusion of the neck), it was observed that smokers had an increased rate of nonunion (up to 47%) as compared to non-smokers.1

    Another study evaluated tobacco use in patients who underwent lumbar (low back) fusion. The patients who smoked had failed fusions in up to 40% of cases, compared to only 8% among non-smokers. Similar findings have been reported in other studies as well.

    Post-Operative Infection

    Cigarette smoking compromises the immune system and the body's other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient's susceptibility to post-operative infection. A study conducted by Thalgott et al showed that cigarette smoking was a risk factor for infection following spinal fusion.

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  • Wow the percentages of failed fusion really goes up for Smokers. I'm still wondering if all this holds true for people who smoke Marijuana thats prescribed to them. Several people report pain relief from medical marijuana versus taking a Pharmaceutical Narcotic ie.. Vicoden, Norco, Percocet. I'm just wondering if the effects of Smoking Marijuana are the same as Smoking Tobacco. I can't seem to find a clear answer. Maybe this has not been researched.
  • I think you're talking about two different processes.

    The pain relief that results from marijuana use affects the same pain receptors in the brain that are hit by the "pharmaceutical narcotics."

    But does the PROCESS OF SMOKING marijuana result in the same problems/issues for the spinal patient that come from smoking tobacco?

    My guess is this has been well researched....
  • Thank you gwennie17. This is much easier to understand.

    Does the PROCESS OF SMOKING marijuana result in the same problems/issues for the spinal patient that come from smoking tobacco?

    Now if i could only find the answer. It really doesn't matter since I Quit Smoking Thanks to President Obama and I can't Smoke Marijuana due to my Job requirements. I'm just bored not being able to do anything since I'm only 1 week post op from my ACDF C5 C6. I've been walking alot and I've been reading way to much online. When I saw the risk factors about Smoking I just became really curious and have not been able to find the answer.
  • I am quitting smoking very soon, like this weekend, my surgery is in a month, but I quit for 6 months about 4 months ago, on Nicotine lozenges, now if your taking nicotine that way for cravings, or do you have to be nicotine free? My doctor pretty much told me if I was smoking, he would not even do the surgery because he has seen them fail so much. They said noting about the nicotine just the fact, that cigerrette smoking, you just won't heal right, lack of oxyegen, and other bad chmeicals besides nicotine. I am quitting this time for good. If I'm still on the lozenges in a month, that will give me incentive to get off quick.

    I wouldn't think POT would be good just because of the spastic coughing fits from it.
  • I just found my answer googling, total nicotine free. We'll I want this to work. I got work to do thanks. :)
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