Reasons it is necessary to quit smoking before spinal fusion

Before or after undergoing any surgery, it is important for the patient to take care of his or her health properly. The same goes for the case of spinal fusion surgery. When the patient follows the recommendations given by the doctor it helps to reduce the possible complications. This guide will help you understand why it is important to quit smoking.


Different studies have shown that the rate of non-fusion in smokers is 2 times more as compared to non-smokers. However, the studies done on the non-fusion rate are high depending on which type of procedure you are getting. 

The fusion rate for the non-smokers is around 5 to 15 percent whereas in smokers it is around 20 to 30 percent or maybe higher.

Most theories show that it results in negative effects because of the presence of nicotine in the body. This can affect bone growth which is essential for successful spinal fusion. 

No doubt, the problem of back pain is very common but if you are facing it in excess then you need to visit the doctor immediately. Our spine surgeon will address the reason and then let you know which treatment plan will help you live a peaceful and quality life.

Presence of Nicotine and PostOperative Healing

  • One of the negative effects of nicotine is that it decreases bone growth revascularization. Improper blood supply makes it difficult for bone graft to get the required nutrients. This is the reason, the fusion neither grows nor forms properly. 
  • Another effect of nicotine is that it can leave an anti-inflammatory effect of the body which halts the recovery process. Smoking affects the actual process of fusion as well as the outcomes of spinal fusion surgery. 
  • Different studies have been done to compare smokers and nonsmokers and it has been always found that non-smokers have better results. Smoking affects our health adversely and it can trigger spine-related issues. 
  • Additionally, smoking is found to increase the rate of disc degeneration. Moreover, this can lead to different spine problems even after spine fusion.
  • Smoking is also linked to different health issues like pulmonary disorders and cardiovascular problems. This condition can interfere with the normal functioning of the spinal fusion. 

Getting back to Normal working routine: Smokers Vs Non-Smokers

One of the studies investigated the effect of smokers and non-smokers on the outcomes of spinal fusion. In this analysis, it was checked when the patient (smokers Vs non-smokers) was able to get back to the normal working routine. All the patients have undergone the successful surgery of spinal fusion. During the study, following return to work rate was found:

  • Patients did not quit smoking before or after surgery was around 51%
  • Around 68% of patients quit smoking for one month after the surgery.
  • Around 77% of patients who quit smoking for more than 6 months after the surgery.
  • Around 71% of the patients were non-smokers. 

Even if the fusion is successful, it can negatively impact the results of spinal fusion and the ability to get back to a normal working routine. This is clear, that if you quit smoking it can help your body to heal on time and with ease. It has been found that smokers are more dissatisfied with the final results of the surgery. 

For more information, book your appointment with our surgeon and get all the desired information you want.