View Full Version : Smoking and surgery

06-09-2005, 09:49 AM
What has been your experiences with doctors if you are a smoker. I know they all know that smoking effects healing. Have any of you had a doctor refuse to do surgery if you smoke or have smoked in the near past? :rolleyes:

06-09-2005, 11:56 AM
Hi Murjo...

Most spine surgeons will not operate on anyone who smokes. If you're starting to think about surgery, you should quit now, as I think many doctors won't trust patients who tell them they'll quit right before surgery. Mostly what I've heard is that surgeons want patients to be smoke free for at least two months prior to surgery and at least 6 months postop.

Having been a smoker for more than 20 years, I know how difficult it can be to quit. But, I honestly think it would be a mistake to have scoliosis surgery without being fully committed to not smoking.


06-20-2005, 10:04 PM
Oh my God :eek: i didn't know that, my doctor never asked me if i am a smoker befor i had my surgery, i'm 2 months post-op now and i'm really scared after knowing this ,so i really need to know if the smoking effects the process of healing or only the time of healing ?


06-20-2005, 11:22 PM
Hi Mona...

I'm really sorry to hear that your surgeon didn't talk to you about smoking. Smokers are > two times more likely to have a non-fusion rate than non-smokers. And, unfortunately, I think the biggest risk is in the first 3 months post-op. You have about a 26% chance that you'll have at least one non-fusion.


You might want to talk to your surgeon about this. I'd be curious about whether there's a 26% chance of non-fusion at each level, or if it's 26% overall.

Best of luck. I hope you're one of the lucky ones.


Karen Ocker
06-21-2005, 04:53 PM
Dr. Boachie absolutely refuses to operate on anyone who is not completely nicotine free for 6 months.

From an anesthetic standpoint: We have a lot of trouble giving anesthesia to smokers. They tend to cough under anesthesia, have thick phlegm which needs suctioning and have poorer wound healing due to nicotine's effect on small blood vessels.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide which combines with a person's hemoglobin forming carboxyhemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen around the body. In smokers this is impaired because carboxyhemoglobin does not allow oxygen to be carried normally. In carbon monoxide poisoning, which is fatal, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is impaired to such a degree that death results.