Re: smoking cigarettes and lumbar fusion
Doctors say "quit smoking" as if it were the simplest thing in the world. It can be done, but it is torture. As a smoker of, well, a whole lot of years, I never found it terribly difficult to quit cold turkey, but since my husband died, I smoke more than ever.
I think it is probably true that smoking interferes with the fusion making process, but I also think that there are many other contributing factors and cigarettes are easy to blame. I don't encourage anyone to keep smoking if they can quit, but I will say that the mental anguish is much worse than anything else. I have been very lucky; I have several fusions and they all took in spite of my 1/2 pack a day habit. I also have osteopenia, so I am extremely fortunate. I also have an absolutely wonderful surgeon whose expertise is part of the reason for my success....he knows I smoke and I think he goes the extra mile to make it happen. There are just too many factors involved in the fusing process and I don't think you can lay it at the door of cigarettes. I know of many non-smokers who did not fuse. Yep, like all smokers, I rationalize. Fire away guys...I know I am gonna catch h*** for this post.
Lumbar surgery x 7 over the last 30 years.
cervical fusion...2 levels
medtronic pain pump implanted
Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels