The Effects of Smoking on Spine Surgery

The Harmful Effects of Smoking Cigarettes on Spinal Surgery in Santa Monica, CA

Many of the potential health issues associated with cigarette smoking are well known. One exception may be the possible impact that smoking can have on spine surgery. Understanding the effects of smoking before undergoing spine surgery in Beverly Hills can help patients realize how they may benefit from kicking the habit prior to surgery.

Slowing Bone Healing

Many of the chemicals in cigarettes make it into the living tissues that also form bone. When these tissues aren’t able to effectively facilitate bone growth, it becomes difficult for fusions to form. The same is true for any type of bone and muscle healing required during the recovery period after spine surgery.

Limited Physical Endurance

Due to decreased lung functioning, many smokers have limited physical endurance. Since bed rest should be limited following spine surgery to promote muscle strengthening, reduced physical endurance may prolong the recovery process and make it more difficult to actively participate in post-surgery physical therapy.

Nicotine and Healing

The nicotine in cigarettes prohibits the restoration of tissue at and around the surgery site. Nicotine can also keep tissues responsible for bone growth from getting the nutrient-rich blood that’s necessary for healthy regeneration. Nicotine also has anti-inflammatory properties that may affect healing.

Accelerated Disc Degeneration

If discs, the spongy material found between the bones of the back, break down faster, subsequent spine fusions may be necessary as other weak points along the spine become problematic. An increased rate of degeneration can also make it difficult to achieve optimal spinal stability following surgery.

Reduced Productivity

Patients who never smoked were able to return to work at a faster rate than those who either smoked or quit smoking prior to their surgery, according to a study of post-surgery return to work rates. Non-smokers also tend be more satisfied with the outcome of their spine surgery than smokers.

There’s evidence suggesting a difference in the success rate of spine surgeries in smokers and non-smokers. Cigarette smoke also impacts the immune system, which can increase the risk of post-surgery infection. Breaking the habit before surgery, however, can reduce such risks and improve the odds of having a successful spine procedure.

If you’re considering back surgery to provide relief from persistent pain, turn to The Spine Institute Center to learn more about your options for minimally invasive spinal surgery in Beverly Hills. We can determine the cause of your pain and evaluate your lifestyle to help you choose the option right for you. Don’t hesitate to call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule an in-person consultation.