Many surgeons, especially neurosurgeons, urge patients to stop smoking before spinal procedures, particularly, spinal fusions.
An extensive amount of research has found that smoking cigarettes prolongs the healing process and causes complications. Below is a list of problems that can arise:
- Decreased rate of successful fusion (called non-union or pseudoarthroses)
- Poorer clinical outcomes, including pain reduction
- Poor rehabilitation after surgery, and prolonged healing process
Quitting smoking prior to spinal procedures and remaining a non-smoker will result in more positive outcomes, including achieving pain reduction and overall successful surgery. Quitting at least 6 weeks before surgery will help you avoid smoking post-operatively and help with the rehabilitation process.