PDA

View Full Version : Need advice before sugery!



roses4me
04-05-2010, 10:29 AM
Hello Everyone, I am a new user. I am so glad to find this forum. I have a few questions and I hope you could help me. I am 26 years old and I have scoliosis. I have 3 different curves in my back. I am scheduled for surgery in late may. My biggest problem is I smoke. I have been trying to quit but it's very hard. Can anyone tell me what the risks are aside from cancer, for surgery and healing? Also, How do feel after surgery? are you mobile? Is there any advice on how I should prepare for this sugery? diet exsercise?? any advice would help. Thank you so much.

Rose

loves to skate
04-05-2010, 11:16 AM
Rose,

Welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for advice and emotional support. The most important thing you can do prior to surgery is to quit smoking. I'm not sure that most Doctors would even operate on you if you are still smoking. Get a patch of something from your primary care Doc to help you quit.

A healthy diet and exercise will help a lot. Strengthen your arms and your quadriceps and your core as much as possible before surgery as you will need that strength to help you get in and out of bed. They will probably get you on your feet the day after surgery and get you walking soon after that. How much flexibility you lose will depend on how long your fusion is and your own body.

Good luck and take care.

Sally

doodie
04-05-2010, 11:55 AM
Welcome Rose!

You've come to the right place if you need answers. I know there are others here on the forum who can answer your questions much better than I can and I'm sure they will.

My Dr. is completely anti-smoking, won't touch anyone who currently smokes. He stated that there is evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. Also, research has demonstrated that cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers.

Cigarette smoking also compromises the immune system and the body's other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient's susceptibility to post-operative infection.

Perhaps you could work with your PCP to try a smoking cessation program - I think most are covered by insurance at least some portion of it anyway.

A question for you...What are you having done in your surgery...?

LindaRacine
04-05-2010, 10:04 PM
Hi Rose....

Nicotine inhibits bone fusion. I'd be surprised if your surgeon will go ahead with surgery knowing that you smoke. At UCSF, we actually test patients who were known smokers, for nicotine. Even if the surgeon is willing to do it, I personally wouldn't even consider fusion surgery if I smoked. When we're talking about scoliosis fusions, with multiple levels, I think there's probably overwhelming odds that there would be at least one area that won't fuse.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Regards,
Linda

Shari
04-05-2010, 10:18 PM
Hi Rose,

Welcome from me also.:) It is true that most, if not all Dr.'s want you to quit smoking. It is supposed to negatively affect the healing process, especially bone growth.

I used the patch. I was able to quit smoking for 2 months prior, but I still had nicotine in my system from the patch.

Don't beat yourself up over smoking. You are young, and it seems that the younger you are the faster you bounce back.

You will quickly see how much knowledge and caring the people on here will show you. Any question, concern or fear you may have is welcome here. So get comfortable and ask away!!!:)

Shari

jrnyc
04-05-2010, 11:30 PM
Welcome Rose
most dentists wont even do surgery if a patient smokes...just as linda said, bones dont fuse...things dont heal right...so, if one is having bone grafting with a dentist...smoking is a big no-no! i think all surgeons, medical or dental, dont like or wont operate while a patient is a smoker!
it is a bummer...i smoked 3 packs a day when i quit...at the time, there were no nicotine patches, only nicotine gum...ugh! it was awful stuff...for me, anyway...so i finally did it cold turkey! i swear i didnt sleep for a month! my doctor told me quitting smoking actually changes your brain waves! for the better, eventually...but you have all my sympathy, cause i know just how tough it is!! after a while, deep breatheing helped with the craving moments...which came in waves, which is how 12 step folks describe drug cravings also...you know the first 96 hours it is supposedly out of your system as far as the worst is concerned..but try and convince the rest of your system it is! quitting cigarettes was one of the hardest things i ever ever did!!

best of luck
jess

Pooka1
04-06-2010, 05:44 AM
There is a young guy on SSo who is having problems with his fusion and in fact needs a revision very soon on the heels of his first surgery very likely due to smoking. I think he was told to quit or they wouldn't do the revision but I may not be remembering correctly.

The idea of multiple revisions due to your smoking hopefully will be enough to convince you. I don't think this is a gray area from what I've read here and elsewhere.

Good luck.

osumike
04-06-2010, 05:59 AM
Yep, as everyone else here has said, YOU HAFTA QUIT! Id be surprised if there was a surgeon who would operate knowing the paitent smoked. When I saw Dr. Bridwell for the first time, I was smoking. He said he would not operate if I was still smoking. Well, that was this past January, and I havent had a cigarette since. Cold turkey. I just dont even think about it and it doesnt bother me at all. Good luck to ya.

JenniferG
04-06-2010, 04:33 PM
Cold turkey is the way to go. I haven't smoked for 34 years and that's how I did it. Since then, I've witnessed many friends using various crutches to give up easily and I honestly think it's harder and takes longer.

It has to come from within. You have to be absolutely convinced this is what you are going to do. Not something you "have" to do, not something that would be a "good idea". You have to "know" this is going to happen. And quit immediately without further ado! I can't see it working without that mindset. Walk to your cigarettes now, and break them into crumbs. Know you are not going to buy any more, ever. Decide you will not even light one for someone. It's over. Consider this: all you have to do is never light up again. It's really that simple. Now if you can ensure that never happens again, you've won the battle.

Having said that, I sympathise. It's hard, but when you need scoliosis surgery, it's a must. I'm not going to wish you luck, because this is down to you, not luck or anything/anyone else. Please let us know how you go, because we will be here to remind you how important this is and to congratulate you.

If I sound like a bear with a sore head, it's probably because my mother smoked all her adult life and died slowly and cruelly, over a period of 12 years, of emphysema. She also died with three, unhealed breaks in her leg from a fall she took two years before her death.

Nitram
04-06-2010, 09:06 PM
Hi Rose, welcome to the forum. I can't really speak about the smoking as I don't smoke, but it suffices to say you need to find a way to quit.

As for surgery, I just had my surgery a little less than 3 weeks ago...got fused T-10 - pelvis. The first few days are a blur and I don't remember much except being really uncomfortable. After that getting used to walking and sitting after surgery was tough, but not horrible. Just have to get your balance back...the meds wreak havoc on your system (at least they do for me) so I'm working to get off them ASAP. At this point I'm soooo glad I did it....feeling better every day, nearly 2" taller and much straighter....I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but it does stink the first week or so...

Rich

spinalfusion09
04-07-2010, 09:16 PM
Hi there! First of all, I hope for nothing but the best for your surgery! I was sixth months out last month woo and am doing wonderfully :} About smoking don't think anyone has to be a doctor to tell you its not good for you. If your back is that curvey chances are high that your lungs already have some stress on them from your rib cage and curves. You really should be in the best physical shape you can be so that you can heal faster. I wouldn't have recovered the way I did if I were not physically active and healthy. About diet before surgery. I had to give 2 units of blood for my own use during and after surgery and they still ran out. Its recommended to eat foods rich in iron like oatlmeal, prunes, cream of wheat etc thats good to get your blood count up. Hope that helps!
Maliha

jrnyc
04-07-2010, 11:09 PM
hmmmm.. i meant AFTER the first 96 hours it is out of your system (or withdrawal physcially lasts for 96 hours)...but i, as most, struggled for weeks and months! it just feels like forever in the beginning!
when i quit, it was a cancer scare...not lung, but throat...at the time, the doctor said i could teach or smoke but not both...i'd have rather have smoked, but i needed to work:rolleyes:

you can get thru quitting, especially with more options now than there were in 1988, when i did it! but it is tough...takes determination...and the decision that smoking is no longer one of your options for coping with anything....
i think they even have support groups for quitting now...maybe it would help....venting to other new smoke quitters might be helpful during the worst part....

best of luck, rose
jess

Jimbo
04-08-2010, 04:09 AM
I smoked up until a month before surgery, but was only a light smoker of bout 1-2 ciggies a day. Quit as soon as you can pre-op! You may as well quit because you aint gonna be able to go out for a many days after the surgery.

I am two months post-op from a huge surgery and I am doing great. I have some transient pain and aches, but apart from that I do just fine - back at work and uni :)

Once you are about a week post-op you will most likely be doing well.

nybw51mr42
10-18-2015, 10:04 AM
Bumping an old thread to just try and clarify something...

It seems the consensus is that if you quit/stop smoking before surgery the negative effects it has on healing/fusion either do not surface, or given enough time the damaging effects are reversed. My own basic internet research shows the same thing. Is that accurate?

Not that I smoke much at all. I've had maybe 2-4 cigarettes since Labor Day, when out drinking. However I spent the summer in Russia and well there the culture kind of imparted itself on me and I was smoking quite a bit when out at nights. Nothing like a daily habit, but quite a few through the night when out on weekends.

Anyway, not planning on smoking at all again before my surgery, which would be about a year away anyway. But just seeing how permanent the effects are...seems not at all.

leahdragonfly
10-18-2015, 10:18 AM
Hi,

This is a great question and I hope you get your answer, if not, your surgeon's office could definitely answer.

As someone randomly unfortunate enough to need two large revisions for broken rods, not related at all to smoking, I can tell you it's no fun! You want to do everything possible to fuse well and heal strongly.

Good luck with your surgery. As someone mentioned up thread, eat a very healthy diet, get your legs as strong as possible, and get into the best cardiovascular shape you possibly can.

LindaRacine
10-18-2015, 02:41 PM
Bumping an old thread to just try and clarify something...

It seems the consensus is that if you quit/stop smoking before surgery the negative effects it has on healing/fusion either do not surface, or given enough time the damaging effects are reversed. My own basic internet research shows the same thing. Is that accurate?

Not that I smoke much at all. I've had maybe 2-4 cigarettes since Labor Day, when out drinking. However I spent the summer in Russia and well there the culture kind of imparted itself on me and I was smoking quite a bit when out at nights. Nothing like a daily habit, but quite a few through the night when out on weekends.

Anyway, not planning on smoking at all again before my surgery, which would be about a year away anyway. But just seeing how permanent the effects are...seems not at all.

Hi...

I work in a university spine practice that does a lot of complex surgery. With the exception of emergency surgery, our surgeons will not perform fusion surgery on anyone who smokes. They require 2 nicotine tests, at least a week apart. Nonetheless, some patients go back to smoking after surgery, and there's nothing we can do about it. I've known at least a dozen patients who went back to smoking and who have had to undergo multiple surgeries because they don't fuse. It's certainly possible that there are others who go back to smoking and we don't know it because they fuse, but I've never heard of one.

Personally, I would NEVER undergo a spinal fusion unless I was absolutely certain that I would not be tempted to return to smoking.

--Linda

leahdragonfly
10-18-2015, 10:53 PM
Amen to that, Linda. One surgery is bad enough, repeats just plain suck!