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scuba diving after fusion?

phyllis_gapphyllis_ga Posts: 27
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Exercise and Rehab
So I have scuba diving fever. I'm 7mos out from a fusion of L5S1 fusion with BMP. My surgeon has ok me to scuba dive as long as I gear up in the water, same getting out. Any thoughts or suggestions from anyone that is diving after a fusion?


  • I dive with several folks who have had fusions both lumbar and cervical. Heck they have it easier than me since they have hardware to help them redistribute the weight.

    It's all nice to say that you'll put your gear on in the water and take it off there, but that lasts maybe once or twice before you give up on it and just put it on like normal.

    I just make sure that I don't have any extremely long walks from the point that I have to put my gear on until I'm actually in the water. If it doesn't feel "right" when I finish the dive, I find the most convenient place to take my gear off, set it there and then carry it back in pieces to the van.

    If I'm boat diving I don't worry about it. Only thing my buddies and I don't do anymore are backroll entries from the boat.

    The key to any of this, is being "fit" to dive. If your core muscles aren't strong, then you have nothing to protect yourself with. If your cardiovascular system isn't up to par, then you should stay on shore.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks C
    I will be diving from a boat with friends who are master divers and will help me with the gear. I'm in pretty decent shape considering the last 7 mos and working hard everyday in the gym. I plan to take it slow.....:)
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  • I'm itching to get back to diving too. My surgeon has told me it's OK to go in Nov. I think as long as you have help with the gear, it should be fine. The only thing that worries me a little is getting back on the boat if there is a swell. Climbing back up on the ladder in rough conditions is pretty hard sometimes without having had back surgery.
    Hope you go somewhere calm and enjoy it
  • Hi,

    Great to here things are going well. I'm 3 weeks post opt just had first Dr appt. I had the same as you, L5S1 bone dowel with BMP plate and rods. At this time feel great. Most pain gone, walking 4 times a day 40 each. I was in good shape for 55, Dr also told me ok to dive in Feb with our dive club! Great. I got the same advise about putting on the BCD while in the water, from the boat or shore dive. We will be going to Scuba Club Cozumel. I have been taking it slow, sounds like you have as well, gotta keep the core strong! Looking forward to diving again as trip before this surgery had back and leg pain when I was netural horzantal, had to abort last two dives. Well good luck I'm sure you will be fine! Good diving and be safe
  • I can not tell you how happy I was to see this. I am about to have to level ACDF with fusion c5-c7. SCUBA and underwaterphotography is my life's passion. I was very afraid that this surgery would limit me.
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  • Will limit you. (in my opinion anyway)

    Wearing the gear on your shoulders will be uncomfortable at first, and of course your head position while diving, but that's easy to overcome. The only thing that I do not do, is a backroll entry.

    Spine surgery does not mean an end to diving for everyone.

  • Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh being back in the water was totally awesome! I did great and the folks on Nekton was great about helping me in and out of the water. I had no discomfort at all. :)
  • That is fantastic to hear! Nekton has a great reputation for their customer service. I bet once you were back in the water you felt awesome. There's nothing other than diving that I have found to remove all the pressure from the body and allow the aches and pain to just go away!

    My hubby and I went diving on the last day of 2008. We had to drive a few hours to an old LST landing port on a mud flat, but we had a great time.

    May 2009 bring you many wonderful dives!

  • Hey C-

    Didn't you get a spinal cord stimulator? Does yours allow you to dive below 30 feet?

  • Yes I did. The company says not to dive below 33 feet with it. Fortunately the reef here allows for some pretty awesome diving in shallow waters. Shallow diving is way better than no diving.

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