The Effects of Smoking and Smoking Cessation on Spine Surgery: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Study Design

Literature review.

Objective

The aim of this literature review was to detail the effects of smoking in spine surgery and examine whether perioperative smoking cessation could mitigate these risks.

Methods

A review of the relevant literature examining the effects of smoking and cessation on surgery was conducted using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane databases.

Results

Current smokers are significantly more likely to experience pseudarthrosis and postoperative infection and to report lower clinical outcomes after surgery in both the cervical and lumbar spines. Smoking cessation can reduce the risks of these complications depending on both the duration and timing of tobacco abstinence.

Conclusion

Smoking negatively affects both the objective and subjective outcomes of surgery in the lumbar and cervical spine. Current literature supports smoking cessation as an effective tool in potentially mitigating these unwanted outcomes. Future investigations in this field should be directed toward developing a better understanding of the complex relationship between smoking and poorer outcomes in spine surgery as well as developing more efficacious cessation strategies.

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