• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Diving post ACDF spinal surgery

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by divingscorpio13, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. divingscorpio13

    divingscorpio13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chico, CA
    16
    0
    1
    Anyone have any experience resuming diving post Cervical Surgery? I had C5 and C6 Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion on July 23rd, 2018.

    I feel great and will be doing physical therapy and building strength back up soon. Looking for anyone who has had similar surgery and how long they stayed out of the water? I'm thinking no back rolls or carrying gear for a while but if I gear up in water and remove before getting back in the boat would be the most important thing.

    We usually do a trip in Oct/Nov and I really hope to still be able to do that this year.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or experience shared.

    ~Cathy
     
  2. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,654
    2,671
    113
    I just left my Neuro surgeon two hours ago for my first post op appointment. I'm told I can go back to cave diving in 7 weeks. :)

    My surgery was the 27th. I'm told the fusion takes 2 months for the tissue to fully graph to the titanium but once that happens it'll be stronger than the remaining vertebrae.
     
  3. divingscorpio13

    divingscorpio13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chico, CA
    16
    0
    1
    That's encouraging!!! Thank you!
     
  4. Resqdivemedic

    Resqdivemedic Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: chepachet, RI USA
    251
    108
    43
    I had the same procedure back in 2003 minus the hardware. Took about 3 months to start seeing the fusion take. Had the surgery in September of 03 and made my first dive post op in June 04. I don't remember having any issues. To this day, no pain or numbness and no loss of motion in any direction. Take your time getting back in.
    Dive Safe!
     
    divingscorpio13 likes this.
  5. divingscorpio13

    divingscorpio13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chico, CA
    16
    0
    1
    Thank you!! Great to hear the long term success you have had!! Dive on ~
     
  6. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    2,725
    742
    113
    I’ve been diving hundreds of times since mine,c5-7. I did wait a year or so but I also had a very bad fracture of C7 after my fusion which was my main slow down and I was also in residency starting summer of 2002.
    Just be very,very careful about what you lift and super cautious about nitrogen loading,especially the first year or so.
    Good luck!
     
    divingscorpio13 likes this.
  7. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    2,725
    742
    113
    Superlyte- that seems overly generous,2 months to stronger than new.
    I was 4 months out,had a bad car accident and the C7 vertebra busted in about 9 pieces. It looked like the screws were not fully hardened into the bone at c-7 and the plate combined with those screws to make a lever. Thankfully, the screws held a lot of the pieces together and probably saved me from a serious spinal cord injury. It was a freak accident and I saw a bunch of neurosurgeons at major centers that had not seen anything like it.
    The day before I had climbed Camelback Mountain in AZ,too!
    I have some issues but they are mostly from above and below the fusion. Looking at possibly getting another level fused soon.
    I have done everything from fox hunting,showing jumpers to diving and jumping out of planes since my surgery. I have some pain but I was otherwise pretty good until I recently started to have problems at c4/5.
     
    divingscorpio13 likes this.
  8. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,654
    2,671
    113
    Who am I to argue with a board certified guy who has done literally thousands of these over the last 25 years. One thing he said was different for me than his partner.... His partner likes to use bone from cadavers, he likes to use Titanium cages. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    At any rate, I feel better than when I went in. I’m exactly 3wks and 3 days from my surgery and the only pain I have occasionally is some shoulder pain if I overdo it. And that gets better every day. I’m completely off of pain killers for a week now.
     
    lv2dive and divingscorpio13 like this.
  9. tcpip95

    tcpip95 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Fort Myers, FL
    139
    75
    28
    I had an ACDF (C5/6) in May 2017. In Feb 2018 went diving in the Keys. In April 2018 I went on my honeymoon in Bonaire and did shore dives, boat dives and dock dives without any problems whatsoever.
     
    divingscorpio13 likes this.
  10. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    5,935
    3,140
    113
    I've had two discectomy and fusion surgeries. Combined C2-C7 are fused. First surgery was C2-C6, second surgery added C6-C7. The first surgery I had about 18 months before I ever got certified to dive. The second kept me out of the water for about 5 months. Not because the doctor said no, but it was a tough thing to get through. The doctor cleared me to get back in the water basically as soon as the incision was fully healed. I think 6 or 8 weeks. I just wasn't up for that much physical activity until about the 5 month mark. We talked in detail about the risks of diving, and they didn't think there was much as they didn't create any voids. Actually, the doctors were pushing me to exercise in pretty much any way possible. I was getting physical therapy, but they frequently encouraged me to get back in the water and go diving. I got the same message about that from the physical therapist, my spinal surgeon, general practitioner and pain doc. They all agreed I should get back into diving as soon as I was comfortable.

    My surgery came with some significant damage to the cord, they said I was lucky it wasn't completely severed. I had to give up cave diving after the second one. I just can't bend my neck well enough to stay in proper trim for long. Well, I can but it's extremely painful and took any fun out of it. Also the spinal damage made touch navigation on a line super difficult due to loss of sensation in my fingertips.

    So.. post-op my trim isn't what it used to be because I've got to break trim to look ahead instead of simply bending my neck - but I'm diving!


    As for back-rolls, I think I've only done that once. All the boats in my neck of the woods tend to have platforms designed for giant stride entry. I was repeatedly cautioned by the surgeon about how much weight I should lift during recovery. I dive steel LP108's which are some heavy tanks, but as I said I was well out of recovery before I actually started diving again.

    I believe the services provided by dive boats are significantly different in CA than we get in FL (just based on what I read on this site - I've never dived CA). You'll have to ask when you charter a ride what the boat will do for you. In FL it's common for a dive charter to allow you to remove your bcd while in the water. They'll haul it onto the boat for you and all you have to do is climb up the ladder yourself. That makes things FAR easier. In Mexico, the operator I dive with actually insisted everyone do it this way. Spine surgery or no, it really is a treat having the boat people lift your stuff out instead of climbing up the ladder with all that stuff on.

    I've never done it, but you could probably jump in without gear, have them float your bcd over to you and don in the water. That would eliminate the need for your body to carry any significant weight... it all ends up being neutral once you're in the water.

    If you still need further assistance, you can look into diving "sidemount". You could use two smaller tanks (google "tiny doubles") such as two al40's or you could just sling one tank on your side (google "monkey diving"). Personally, I find regular backmount with a hard backplate easier. The weight is really on your shoulders anyway, and only while you're on the boat.


    Re: cadaver vs titanium. I got titanium (rods c2-c6 and plate c6-c7). I didn't choose, although I think I might have selected titanium. Cadaver parts kind of sounds creepy to me.
     

Share This Page