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Old 04-07-2005, 11:09 AM   #1
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blossom64 HB User
SMOKING and FUSION

I hate to admit this but I love to smoke, it's the one thing that gives me any pleasure in all my pain!

I didn't smoke the first 4 weeks after my fusion because of hearing that it constricts blood vessels and ruins the chance of a successful fusion.

I gave in to 2-3 smokes a day. I can feel it constrict my lower back, but as soon as I am done smoking I lay on the heat pad and feel it dilate the blood vessels.

Anyone........ I would like to hear from people who have smoked and had a successful fusion, or failure.

I had a massive bone graft in my upper mouth during a tooth implant procedure. I had a cyst that had eaten away tons of bone, and had cadaver bone grafts that took just fine despite me smoking like a chimney.

I no it's a no-no but I am going to continue to smoke my 1-3 cigs a day.

 
Old 04-07-2005, 11:14 AM   #2
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

oops, didn't mean to put it up 3 times!! sorry

 
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:19 AM   #3
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

I smoke. I have had 2 fusions at L5-S1. Both times the fusion was successful. But, I think I was really lucky and if I have to have another fusion, I will quit smoking. I am too old to take chances. But I don't think that 1-3 cigarettes are going to make a bit of difference. Having said that, there will be opposing opinions, I am sure. LOL.

Carol
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2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

 
Old 04-07-2005, 11:28 AM   #4
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Carol, whew, glad to hear that! I am having a major guilt trip over this! My poor hubby is having a hard dealing with providing me the cigs too.

 
Old 04-07-2005, 02:43 PM   #5
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cardinal HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Blossom, not good for me anyway, I quit too for a week but started up after surgery, only a few a day. I even try not to "inhale" too much. I am 2 yrs post op cervical NON fusion, did not take. Now I face the ordeal all over again. Not sure if it was the cigs or not? I really doubt it cause my whole back is ddd and arthritis and has been for over 25yrs! I had donar bone, maybe my own would have worked? I had major stress in my life throughout my life so I think that contributed too, also pushing myself too soon after surgery? This time it will be different, I am in a much better "place" in my life and even though I have nobody to help me, my life is "calmer". best wishes,
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:31 PM   #6
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Cardinal, sorry to hear your fusion didn't take. If mine doesn't take, that's it, I am not going for a second round, two back surgeries is enuf. I am not getting my T7-8 herniation fixed either, my hubby and I both agree it's too risky. Glad you are in a better place, I feel like I could be if not in so much pain. Hoping this fusion alleviates some of my pain. *Hugs* Blossom

 
Old 04-07-2005, 03:40 PM   #7
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Cardinal, is the pain and spasms you have now as bad as before the fusion? Just curious how it is with a failed fusion.

 
Old 04-07-2005, 08:39 PM   #8
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PeachJam HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Recent research seems to all conclude that smoking does not have a significant impact on fusion. However, I would still limit the number of cigs as much as you can. The official stance that dr's are taking is to tell all pts no smokey smokey.The only thing that I would say is you have to decide what risk you are willing to take. For instance I am using the bone growth stimulators even though the evidence is highly mixed ( and it didn't work last time) so that I can say I did everything this time. But again there is no solid evidence at this time saying it causes problems.

For those of you who have yet to have surgery you should also cut down as much as you can pre surgery as smoking before surgery can increase your risk of infection and breathing issues after aneth.

Peach

 
Old 04-07-2005, 09:46 PM   #9
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tammys HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

My surgeon insisted I quit smoking before I had my surgery. I smoked a cigarette on the way to the hospital the day of my fusion. I didn't have a cigarette for 19 days after surgery (should have never picked them back up), after 19 days, my sister was sitting with me, she lit a cigarette up and the smell made me want one. I smoked on of hers and after that I was hooked all over again. My fusion took and I am glad. The surgeon I saw on Monday told me that smoking slowed down blood circulation and therefore contributed to back pain. I figure I need to stop, but with all the "bad news" and "conflicting opinions" from the doctors, they are just contributing to my smoking habit. (got to blame it on someone). My sister smokes and had a cervical fusion and has done great with it. My ex-husband had a fusion and he smokes, he also has done great with his. I think the smoking thing is just one of those things the doctors have to tell you.

Good Luck!!! Keep Smiling!!!
Tammy

 
Old 04-08-2005, 12:00 AM   #10
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Hi Blossom

Everyone's posts are pretty much my opinion, I really have mixed feelings on this. I think it's true (from what I've read) that smoking really does hinder fusion and in all likelihood can lead to non union.

EVERY Dr I have saw swears to this at different degrees.

Ortho was adament. He was also totally NO SMOKING or he would not do surgery....I find this extreme.

NS advises NO smoking but did not force it down my throat, quite honestly he is the one that told me not only does it risk a successful fusion it CAUSES BACK PAIN TO INCREASE, I had never heard that and kinda blew it off then I read a post somewhere here ... that it indeed made her back hurt - and she could feel her back constricting.(and a heating pad helped) I LIVE in an electric blanket packed in ice! crazy

Like Carol I smoked throughout my 2 surgeries.

I DID stop for the big FUSION sx ....hardest thing (and time) to do this, mentally you think you need a smoke more than ever

I will NOT be smoking for this upcoming surgery, like Carol said, I'm getting too old to take chances too. ESPECIALLY since my last 2 level fusion failed miserably. I just pray I have the disipline needed to continue leaving them alone.

Blossom:
Like you, I have severe arthritis throughout the spine severe DDD at all levels (Lumbar) after hours & hours of research I do think that we had all of these things against us, we we're VERY prone to fail. I too had donor bone, NO bone growth stimulator and NO brace, NO PT. In hindsight I didn't have a chance in hell of fusing. Like I've said in other posts this will be my 3rd surgery and I pray for the strength to do EVERYTHING I PERSONALLY CAN to ensure this ordeal will yield results. This time I will have the BGS, brace, PT etc..and will use my own bone, not cadaver. A lot of docs hold off using your bone, they use cadaver it's easier on the pt etc...and they leave iliac harvest for a "Backup Plan" in the even you don't fuse. I guess I understand that sorta but think if your a high risk pt for fusion (obese, smoker, other health issues etc..) then I think EVERY step should be used FROM THE START of surgical planning, as extra help to encourage fusion.

I now have a failure of hardware and NON union @ L4/5 Sept '03.

The pain that finally compelled me to commit to fusion was indescribable, it was incidious and unrelenting, I finally was bone on bone and was totally controlled by pain. The pain I have now is totally the same yet different. Different in the degree and intensity. Bone crushing, grinding, burning, searing, tearing, and untolerable (and this is on Duragesic, Lortab, Zanaflex, Neurontin, Soma, Elavil, Xanax, dicolfenac, occasional Medrol paks and OTC NSAIDS)

I often do what we all do, try and describe the pain (at it's worse) to myself, and often relate it to a toothache in my spine. That's if it's a nerve pain day! Each day is different in sensation but consistent with increasing and totally debilatating agony.

THIS is why I shall do this surgery one more time, the life I have now is not MY life. I am a prisoner to this pain and it is impossible for me to continue like this. This surgery or my previous ones were not gone into lightly and were not rushed, I finally went thru with them when I could not wait any longer...

Tammy:
I did it to girl smoked like a chimney all the way to the hospital. I do believe what your surgeon told you about smoking slowing down circulation and increasing back pain to be true. I also think genetics play a major role - you could take 10 smokers and 10 non smokers, do a fusion and still have mixed results.

Last edited by Bionicwan; 04-08-2005 at 12:14 AM.

 
Old 04-08-2005, 08:42 AM   #11
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cardinal HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Yes Blossom the pain is worse, but seems to be on the other side more now. My osteoarthritis is what has gotten real bad. I can't sit long or drive without feeling like I am balancing a bowling ball on a toothpick! My hands are hurting, knees, elbows and feet. I just hope having surgery again will eleviate this? might be too late? Finally taking an anti d, elavil, hope it helps. I've tried too long to live with this gotta do something! So, yes since surgery things have gotten much worse! My l5 discectomy was a great relief!!! I haven't had a "fall down" since!! but now that is collapsed and l3-5 are bulging. My main issue now is cervical.
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Sorry to hear that your pain has gotten worse, *hugs*

I have several degenerated discs, and herniated discs, the worse being C5-6 and T7-8. I had a headache for 2 days that turned into a migraine last nite, I couldn't get to sleep my head and neck pounded so hard. I took a lortab 10 at 9, a demerol at 11pm, and 2 tylenol at 2am, and a headache pill at 8am called butabital, it worked finally. I am really feeling weak and shaky today from it . I believe my migranes are caused from T7-8 herniation.

My low back seems to be getting better everyday, although I still can't stay up longer than an hour or less at a time before I start having severe spasms. I understand your statement about a bowling ball supported by a toothpick, that's about how I feel.



Blossom

 
Old 04-08-2005, 12:55 PM   #13
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ltedeschi HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

They explained the fusion was like a broken bone healing. The bone grows and forms one large bone. If this is the case why in the world don't they tell smokers who break a leg or arm to quit smoking. That heals don't it.
I think it isn't good for you and probably makes it a little harder to grow but if it destroyed the fusion like some docs say then all broken bones of smokers wouldn't heal and we all know that isn't the case.
Smoking or not is a personal choice and I wish you all good health either way.
Love Lisa
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Old 04-08-2005, 01:52 PM   #14
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blossom64 HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

Lisa, good point! It makes me kind of mad now thinking about the threat of no fusion! What the heck!?! Scare tactics. You make a valid and solid point!

 
Old 04-08-2005, 02:15 PM   #15
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terrienne HB User
Re: SMOKING and FUSION

[QUOTE=ltedeschi]They explained the fusion was like a broken bone healing. The bone grows and forms one large bone. If this is the case why in the world don't they tell smokers who break a leg or arm to quit smoking. That heals don't it.
I think it isn't good for you and probably makes it a little harder to grow but if it destroyed the fusion like some docs say then all broken bones of smokers wouldn't heal and we all know that isn't the case.
Smoking or not is a personal choice and I wish you all good health either way.
Love Lisa

[/QUOTE] PLEZZZZZZZZZZ, do you really think you, any of you, would
actually quit smoking, even if your Doctor told you to ?
It is my understanding that smoking would hinder ANYTHING from healing !
Hey, I was a smoker, up until six months ago ! I usually smoked less than
a pack a day, sometimes more, sometimes less.
My Husband quit smoking TOO, and he was smoking about three packs a day !

He came in from work one day, and casually mentioned that he had had some
visual disturbance in his left eye ! This was on a Friday. He went over to
see his Dad, who is a Doctor (GP Doctor, who smokes uhhh, a LOT !),
and told his Dad about his eye.
He made him an appointment with an Eye Specialist, we were in the office
early on Monday morning.
He came out with a look on his face that I have NEVER seen before, and
told me that we had to go and see another Eye Doctor, and when I asked
what kind, he said, ' a Retna Eye Specialist ', that this Doctor had
seen that he had a leakage of the blood vessels, behind the retna of the eye!
I truly think my heart sank to my toes.

I will make this brief, as some of you are aggrivated anyway.
Since that day, my Husband has had several laser surgeries. However,
when this occurs, there is no turning back ! It doesn't fix it, it only stops it !
So, he has lost at least 80% of his eyesight in his left eye, with a 38% of
loosing his sight in the right eye.
Or, he could wake up and be blind in the morning. And, this is what he/we have to deal with every day of our lives.
The Doctor didn't have to tell him to QUIT SMOKING, however He did tell him
that if he continued to smoke, his chances would be greater of loosing more of his eye site.
We promptly went to get the patches, and an Anti-depressant,
' Wellbutrin XL '. Since he had smoked for so long, this was a HUGE help !

BTW, the main thing is that he has NEVER been sick., he has always been
here for me.
Now we are here for each other, taking things one day at a time.......,

Thanks for listening,
Many BLessings to ALL,
GG

 
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