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Thread: Cervical surgery and diving questions

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    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Cervical surgery and diving questions

    I am looking for some information on the effects of high PO2's of gasses, mainly nitrogen and helium, on the healing process of new bone fusions. Is there anything out there that shows it as being a + or - to the growth/strenght of the new bone? The specific procedure That I am referring to is an Anterior Cervial Discection.
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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    What you're probably having is an anterior cervical discectomy. Usually done for arm/shoulder pain or weakness caused by disc rupture and nerve compression. I anaesthetise for these on a regular basis.

    They'll make a 4cm horizontal cut on the affected side of your neck; surprisingly not too sore and you should be out of hospital in 2 to 3 days.

    They come in from the front of the vertebra so they stay away from the spinal cord. This is different from a lower back (lumbar) discectomy which is usually done from the back (posterior).

    They often do a fusion as well. Commonly this involves putting in a titanium cage (looks like a tiny hair curler) into the spage left after the disc is removed. It is held in with a butterfly shaped plate.

    Your surgeon will let you know what sort of timetable you should adhere to in terms of physical activity. they'll probably say 6 weeks for bone healing. Long term you'll probably lose some range of motion in your neck.

    Otherwise, in terms of healing/DCS risk etc etc there is nothing to stop you from doing any sort of diving you like.

    Dteubner on this forum had one done about 4 years ago. Essentially pretty routine surgery; you'll be fine.

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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    I have already had the surgery and am wanting to dive. I want to know the effects of high partial pressures of gasses on the healing and growth of new bone. I am willing to stay out of the water for years if that is what is necessary for full and complete recovery, but I certainly would rather get wet again sooner. My surgeon is not certain of the effects of the higher nitrogen levels on the bone. I know some people have been back in the water in 6 weeks and other have been as long as a year. It seems that most people/doctor are limiting it to the physical abilities of the diver rather than any specific time frame for the recovery.

    I would like to find some concrete answers.
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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    Maybe give DAN a call & check out their thoughts?

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    Don,
    When a friend of mine was in the hospital recovering from a bad motorcycle accident, they put him a hyperbaric and put him to two atmospheres on pure oxygen to help him heal faster. I am no doctor, but high PPO2 seems good for healing bone. I do not know about high PPN2 or PPHe. Maybe just do some shallow dives on pure O2.

    TJ

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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dsix36  View Original Post
    ...... I am willing to stay out of the water for years if that is what is necessary for full and complete recovery.... snip.....

    I would like to find some concrete answers.

    Don,

    Paul, Martin, Lamar, and I have taken up a collection to make sure you spend as many "years" as you need to heal...

    The check is in the mail...




    On a serious note: I hope you get better soon - I've had a couple of friends go through those kinds of surgeries, and diving certainly didn't help their recovery (my pal, Hal Gartner, got bent regularly after surgery, and wound up quitting diving altogether - took up flying instead, but then died when he plane crashed a couple of years ago - go figure...).

    Just about everyone I know (including myself) who did a lot of deep diving wound up with some kind of mess with their bones. With Hal, he needed both hips and both shoulders replaced - with me, I've got recurring pain in my tailbone (no "pain-in-the-ass" jokes, dudes!).

    Maybe it's just we're all getting old, but stuff doesn't heal quite so quick as when we were young and spry...

    Of course, nothing kills Mark Chase, so maybe there is hope for you after all...

    Get better soon.

    Kevin.

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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    Having had a wrist fusion, as well as Bilateral knee replacements, all in the past few years, I found that DAN was able to give the only informed opinion when it came to getting back to diving.

    The surgeons who did these procedures on me didn't seem to know much if anything about hyperbaric medicine and basically said when the incisions have healed and the swelling is down go ahead.

    Give DAN a call and they can likely give you an informed opinion.

    Personally I was back to diving in about 4 months after the wrist fusion and 5 1/2 months after bilateral knee replacements, but I would bet spinal surgery has its own special considerations.

    I took it slow with little to no decompression diving for the first bit as I was more concerned about scar tissue and the effect on DCS than I was about the healing of the bone, which I understand takes place in the first two to three months post surgery.

    Marc

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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dsix36  View Original Post
    I have already had the surgery and am wanting to dive. I want to know the effects of high partial pressures of gasses on the healing and growth of new bone.
    Did you consult your surgeon? What did he say?
    Be cautious about getting medical advice from a diving forum though... it's like going to the mechanic with a tooth ache.

    FWIW, my surgeon had no idea about scuba after knee surgery, so he found out the answer from colleagues who were in the hyperbaric field.

  9. #9
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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    I have sent a question to DAN and am waiting to hear from them.

    My surgeon is nor sure of the effects of high partial pressures of nitrogen on the surgical area and therefore is not able to give me an educated answer. Thus the reason for looking for some more information, more than just heresay or the "I did this".
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwinter  View Original Post
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    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS SO YESTERDAY AND I AM DONE WITH IT!!!!!

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    Re: Cervical surgery and diving questions

    Don,

    A few years ago I suffered a pretty severe femur fracture. I had a titanium rod installed through the center of my bone. I am convinced that the "hyperbaric" treatment my leg received while diving expedited bone growth. My surgeon agreed with me as well although I had a hard time convincing the insurance company to pay for my "therapeutic dive treatments"!

    Hope you heal up soon!

    Warm regards,
    Randy

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