Will smoking affect my healing process after back surgery? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada
We’ve all heard about the negative effects of smoking. It’s simply not good for your body – all parts of it. It can decrease lung function, increase coughing and mucus production, block circulation of blood vessels, and upset the digestive tract. And when it comes to back surgery, smoking can significantly slow down your rate of healing. Your spine is made up of living tissues. Remember, your bones and tissues are truly dependent on the rest of your body to support growth, mobility, and function.
With spinal fusion surgery, your bones are surgically fused together. Once the surgery is completed, your body begins growing new bone, bridging any gaps between the spinal segments. When the rest of your body is not functioning at its peak because of cigarette use, your body is simply working harder to work in the right way. Smoking can break down the spine rather than put it back together, which is the reason why non-smokers usually have a higher success rate in spinal fusion recovery than smokers do. Additionally, after surgery, habitual smokers will also have a greater risk for infection, simply because the immune system is not as strong.
If you are a candidate for spinal fusion surgery, consider trying to quit smoking before surgery. Begin restoring your body to its whole state before you go in for surgery. This will make it easier during the recovery process and allow for faster healing as well.
For more information or to ask specific questions about the effects of smoking and spine healing, contact Dr. Cash at www.disclv.com.