I think it is as simple as you fuse, or you don't. I have been told by 4 doctors from the test they ran, that I am fused. One of the things listed for my next surgery is to determine first that the fusion is solid. That up close look by your surgeon is the determining test, I guess. I even had a bone density test on the fusion site and it is good. 5 x-rays show solid something. I had cadaver bone stuffed with my own bone from my hip. The main thing is no BLT's. When the pain started at about 3 months, I started on Oxycotin, then Methodone, and then Morphine.(Not at the same time) They all made me have dry heaves and I had to go into the hospital with breathing problems. I can only take a limited dose of Norco for the pain. My chances of fusion were lower than most. I smoke, something that I just couldn't give up. I have tried. It's the nicotin that slows the fusion. So like Camperboy said, no patches or gum either.