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