Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans and we are forced to change plans last minute whether we want to or not. Surgery is one of those things that can definitely change a diver's plans. When considering whether or not it is safe to dive after a surgery will depend on many factors. While some factors are specific to the surgery, many factors are generic and can be a good starting spot for you and your doctor to discuss when making this decision.
- The first thing is to make sure the incision area has healed completely and is fully closed to minimize risk of infection. This includes internal stitches and incisions
- If the surgery entailed adding air into body cavities, time must be given to allow the body to absorb the excess air so it does not cause expansion injury.
- Side effects of the surgery should be considered when looking at returning to diving. Some surgeries cause the patient to experience side effects such as heartburn, weight loss, and difficulty lifting/performing physical tasks. If the side effects of the surgery would cause a big problem if they occurred during a dive, it may be not worth the risk to your health.
- SCUBA is a physically demanding sport. You would need to be cleared for full activity including lifting heavy weights (dive equipment, dive weights, tank and regulator, etc) full range of motion (bending, twisting, lifting, carrying, climbing) and tolerance for exercise (kicking/swimming, carrying, walking, lifting)
- A general timeline is about 6-12 months after a surgery is when a person who is in good health can expect to return to the world of diving.