Recently, a new article demonstrated that smokers undergoing a single level lumbar fusion did not have a higher rate of the fusion not taking (pseudarthrosis) compared to non smokers. However, if they underwent a two level fusion the rate of fusion not taking was higher. Complications however were also higher for smokers regardless of number of levels.
Take home points:
if you are a smoker and undergoing a lumbar fusion
- smoking increases risk the fusion not taking a you may need another surgery especially if more than one level is being fused
- if you can stop smoking (meaning no nicotine, not even from a patch) few months before and fews months after would be ideal