Medical Forum
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Question
Posted : April 21, 2008
I had a spinal bend in 2004 because of a pfo, which has since been closed. Now my hips are to be relined and my knees ache. is this bone necrosis resulting from the bend and if so what can be done? I am 50 years old

Answer
Posted : April 22, 2008
Thanks for the query. Dysbaric osteonecrosis basically means thinning and death of bone due to nitrogen bubbles coming out of solution, although it is not well understood. It's a problem seen mainly in commercial divers and is directly linked to the amount of time spent at depth, so it is unusual to see it in recreational divers. You don't say what sort of diving you've done or how long you have been diving, but the bottom line is that it is treated similarly to other forms of arthritis - there's no evidence that recompression therapy provides any benefit. So that means managing for as long as possible with painkillers and muscle strengthening exercises. Surgical options are a last resort. Any further decompression diving can worsen the condition so it's best to stay at depths of less than 12m and minimise any physically stressful diving.
Hope that helps, regards Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
Disclaimer:
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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