Do I Have To Stop Doing Neck Exercises If I Get A Custom Skull Implant?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I do my neck exercises regularly everyday with my neck harness. I load with weights between 50 pounds and upwards to 100+ pounds. I have included a video to better describe my neck exercises. 

I need to know if these exercises will damage my custom implant or not. Because I really, really do NOT want to ever damage my custom implant. Especially after waiting a lifetime to have my custom implant and all the expenses to get this surgery. 

But I also wish to not be unable to do my daily important physical therapy for my cervical spine/neck. I need to regularly do my physical therapy for my cervical spine/neck especially after serious repeated injuries suffered during childhood to my head and neck, which has resulted in the need for this surgery in the first place. 

Maybe I’ll have to wait some time after surgery to be able to continue my neck exercises with my neck harness and/or will have to decrease the weight? How long? 

Perhaps I will have to PERMANENTLY decrease the weight after surgery? Hopefully NOT, because it’s so satisfying to be able to exercise with heavy weights and progressively increase the weights. But if – unfortunately  – yes, then what would be the maximum amount of weight recommend by Dr. Eppley?

A: Thank you for your very thoughtful question. Since your skull implant will be sitting completely on bone and not on or over any muscle (temporal or neck muscles) I do not see any contraindication to doing neck exercises after surgery. I would wait a month before resuming them after surgery to allow the skull implant to fully heal.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana