The Impact of Smoking in Workers’ Compensation Patients Receiving Spinal Cord Stimulation


The objective of this study was to determine the impact of smoking on clinical outcomes in workers’ compensation (WC) patients receiving spinal cord stimulation (SCS). One hundred and ninety-six patients from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation were identified who received SCS with implantation occurring between 2007–2012. Patients were divided into smokers (n = 120) and nonsmokers (n = 76). Population characteristics before and after implantation were analyzed between the two groups. A multivariate logistic regression was run to determine predictors of return to work (RTW) status. Our regression determined smoking (p = 0.006; odds ratio [OR] = 0.260) and body mass index (p = 0.036; OR = 0.905) to be negative predictors of RTW status. After implantation, smokers were less likely to RTW after 6 months and had higher pain scores after 6 and 12 months. Both smokers and nonsmokers had significance reductions in opioid use after SCS implantation. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 30(3):185–189, 2021)

Key words: spinal cord stimulation, smoking, tobacco, workers’ compensation, return to work

Bryan O. Ren, BS; Jeffrey A. O’Donnell, MD; Joshua T. Anderson, MD; Arnold R. Haas, BS, BA; Rick Percy, PhD; Stephen T. Woods, MD; Uri M. Ahn, MD; and Nicholas U. Ahn, MD