Artificial Disc Replacement North Carolina
Testimonial of Mireya Ottehenning
I would like to thank Dr. Bertagnoli, Dr. Fenk-Mayer, the rest of the ProSpine Medical Team and the nurses for the successful surgery and my fast recovery. Considering where I started and the fast recovery I experienced after the surgery, I believe that the results of the surgery were a miracle! Since the surgery and now 5 months after the surgery I am completely pain free, do my daily routine without limitations, exercise again and lift my newborn twin grandchildren! I am so grateful for the new-found pain free mobility!!!! Prof. Bertagnoli is my hero !!!!!!!!!!!!
My situation prior to the surgery developed unexpectedly to a point that I never would have had expected. I had "some kind" of back pain throughout my life since the age of 8 years when I fell from a tree. My pain increased slowly grew over the years and two years before the surgery my MRI showed a considerable deterioration at two….of my back but "no need for surgery yet". Then, in mid 2010 the pain increased and a new MRI showed that the situation had gotten worse to the point that surgery was required. The surgeon in my home town recommended fusion as the “best approach”, but my husband (who had done a lot of research at that point) felt that ADR was a far better solution. We identified three surgeons as our best options of choice and contacted them.
It resulted that ProSpine was the easiest party to deal with. The surgeon in the West lost my paperwork in the beginning and I quickly concluded that the surgeon in the East was anyway my better option because he was closer to us. Going to Germany was my 2nd option at that point because I shied away from the long trip there.
My situation quickly deteriorated. The pain increased and in January I was not be able to do my daily walk anymore. In February we asked both surgeons to provide us with a date for an operation. ProSpine immediately acted and provided all information and a date for the surgery. The surgeon at the East coast required various additional exams to determine if ADR was the right measure while ProSpine indicated "I was ready to go". At that point my left leg was getting numb from time to time and I couldn’t move around in my home any more. I was shocked about the fast deterioration of my health situation.
Although the insurance was denying coverage, my husband and I decided to trust Prof. Bertagnoli and his team and undergo surgery in Bogen (close to Straubing/Munich/Germany). Mr. Vicknair, their agent in Raleigh was extremely helpful to explain all details around the surgery and made all preparations far easier. Close to the departure I only could move around in a wheel chair, reason why Mr. Vicknair combined a business trip to Bogen with my trip and helped me during the entire traveling to Germany. I thank him for having helped so much to keep my fears on a very low level! My husband, who normally would have accompanied me, had started working at a new position and therefore was able to stay at home and manage our children.
The international traveling was ok and I appreciate the fact of having the privilege of a business class seat! Aside of pain and moving around in a wheel chair, my hopes were high and my prayers had assured me that things would be fine The arrival in Germany and my traveling from Munich to Bogen went smooth. ….I had an English speaking taxi driver who helped me to move around before and after the surgery.
The hospital in Germany was a pleasant experience (as much as hospitals can be pleasant). It was very clean, most of the nurses spoke enough English to communicate with me (some more, some less). I received a local cell phone which provided me with the ability to communicate with Dr. Fenk-Mayer and Mr. Vicknair. The preparations for the surgery were fast and efficient. I met Prof. Bertagnoli who is most likely one of the nicest surgeons I ever met. He took his time with me, answered questions (which confirmed the answers I had received from his staff) and made sure I understood the details of the procedure. The conversation confirmed my trust in him and the fact that he is one of the most competent ADR surgeons in his field.
The surgery itself was a "none-event" for me. I had other surgeries and normally I remember being moved around, seeing corridors and the operation room etc. The last thing I remember was getting an injection in my room, smiles of the anathesist and I was "gone"…When I woke up, I asked when the surgery would start and the answer was "it’s done. The surgery went well!"….What a relief….I After my first pain free walk to the rest room I called my family to give them the good news.
After 5 days I left the hospital and checked into a nearby hotel, where I stayed for days. I moved around carefully but got confidence every day. At that point I was aware of the new implant, but the existence of its presence subsided after 2 months…Today it’s "me" all over and I don’t feel having an implant. The only reminder is my 5” scar at my navel. I enjoyed the good food in Bogen's few restaurants (German & Italian) and later also visited Straubing, a larger town. Time flew by I asked for an "early release".
In summary the surgery was a very positive experience. I am back to my own self (but pain free) and again thank all involved for their help, their understanding and their support!