Posts Tagged smoking
How Smoking Affects Spinal Fusion and Surgeries – Back and Neck Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio
Spinal fusion is a procedure which fuses two or more vertebrae in the spinal column together. This surgical procedure can compensate for spinal discs (shock-absorbing pads between each vertebra) that have degenerated to the point where the spinal nerves are at risk for compression. The stress of major back surgery is such that smokers will often be tempted to smoke more in the aftermath and during recovery. Dr. Gary Kraus and Dr. Masaki Oishi at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston TX, have extensive history of performing fusion of the spine, including the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. They have several offices around Houston serving patients in Houston, Kingwood, Humble, Katy, Woodlands, Pearland, Memorial City, Quite simply, it is absolutely preferable that patients cease smoking for at least two months prior to spinal fusion and for at least six months after any major bone alteration within the spinal column. Better still if patients are able to quit smoking indefinitely. Nicotine, one of the primary addictive chemicals in cigarettes, is toxic to bone growth. The balance of the body’s osteoblasts (bone-growing cells) and osteoclasts (bone-eating cells) is severely compromised by smoking during both the pre- and post-operative periods. Large decreases in the number of osteoblasts means that bone generative capacity is vastly reduced, signaling a long (and possibly ineffective) spinal fusion process. Normally, patients decide on spinal fusion and similar back surgery due to increases in back pain and a corresponding decrease in mobility. If patients continue to smoke during the post-operative period, bone fusion—if it even takes place—will take much longer. This means that patients will face many more months of decreased mobility and elevated levels of back pain. Though a nicotine addiction may be strong, abstinence from smoking during the pre- and post-operative period will shorten recovery time significantly. Non-smoking patients will also be more capable of participating in aerobic portions of physical therapy, which stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to areas around the spinal column. This extra nutrition will further speed the process of recovery. Though the precise method of physical rehabilitation may depend on the complexity of the spinal surgery and the patient’s overall health, the absence of nicotine from the patient’s daily life will optimize his or her chances at an effective spinal fusion. Patients suffering from low back pain and neck pain can easily make an appointment and be seen at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston and surrounding areas. No imaging or other studies are needed to be seen. The doctors at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute will order the appropriate testing.
Keywords: smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio
Smoking and Spinal Fusion Surgery
Patients often ask about the effects of smoking on spinal fusion surgery. Nicotine has a significant negative impact on the human musculoskeletal system by lowering bone mineral density, contributing to intervertebral disc degeneration, and limiting the restoration of the blood supply to bone grafts. Numerous studies have shown that smoking also (1) slows the production of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) thereby increasing the time required for healing, (2) impairs the absorption of calcium, and (3) increases the risk of bone fracture. Other studies have found a direct link between smoking and low-back pain independent of surgical intervention.
Spinal fusion, the permanent surgical immobilization of two or more adjacent bones (vertebra) of the spinal column, has become the standard of care in the United States with more than 500,000 spinal fusions performed annually on the neck and low back. The effects of smoking should be of particular concern for individuals who undergo a fusion in the lumbar and cervical regions of the spine. Smoking causes an increased rate of pseudarthrosis, the failure of bone to fuse following spinal fusion surgery. This leads to increased postoperative pain. Studies of lumbar and cervical fusions consistently show that successful fusions occur in a significantly higher percentage of nonsmokers than smokers.
Finally it should be noted that cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor for the development of postoperative complications such as deep wound infection, improper healing and bone graft pain.
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