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  #1  
Old 12-14-2006, 10:27 PM
nduetime nduetime is offline
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I'm looking for some help from others on this board. If you know anything through research, have any personal experience or know of anyone else who has, I'm looking for any thoughts on this as a viable option to me and others.
A search for "medical tourism" resulted in a website called European Medical Tourist (EMT). It was the first result I clicked on from the search. I was unable to see exactly what they are but I would assume they are an independent medical broker? They provides a service of connecting patients with European doctors for medial procedures for a lower cost than performed here in the states. Again, I know nothing about this company or this service and I'm trying to get some advice.
I've been entertaining the idea of traveling overseas (Germany or Austrialia) for an ADR. I have collected some names of good Doctors based on individuals experiences. How does this type of service compair to just contacting doctors directly for the procedure? I'm not even sure if those that have listed their overseas experience in ADR participated in a type of service this or not.
I asked for more information last night while searching there site and to my surprise, I received a phone call this morning (which woke me up at 7:30) from the owner, Tim Vicknair. I was told that a reply of the questions I had asked where replied to by email ealier. In the message I was told the cost is approximately 17,900 EUR or 23,500 USD which "include the medical expenses up to three weeks in the hospital." I have since inquired whether that is only for a single level and if so how much more for more levels. I like the figure but also am not searching for the cheapest price out there. I just want to make sure I'm heading in the right direction with a service like this or if it's unnecessary.
As I said, if anyone knows anything about this type of service or has any imput, I would be greatly appreciative.
Thank you in advance for your reply-Byron
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Chronic lumbar pain since at least 1996 (no major accidents, just pain)
Pinched nerve as a result from a Chiro. appointment - Jan. 2002
Lumbar Discetomy - Feb. 2002
Still experience chronic lumber pain but complete numbness on right side is gone t
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2006, 06:05 AM
Kim_Dean\'sWife Kim_Dean\'sWife is offline
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Hello Byron!
I am not familiar with European Medical Tourist; however, I wanted to respond to your post to quickly tell you of my experience. When my husband decided to go to Germany for his 2 level ADR, we learned of some services that assist patients in setting everything up for a fee. This must be a very useful tool for some, but we found it quite simple to arrange everything on our own. He is now scheduled for surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli of Prospine. I contacted Prospine directly. We found enough info. on this site, as well as people who have gone this route here, to choose a doctor overseas and initiate the process. I would be happy to talk with you via Private Messaging if you have questions. Good luck!
Kim
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2006, 06:30 AM
Alastair Alastair is offline
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Hi Byron,
If you look through the pages here, you will see that the usual success in Europe is from Dr Bertagnoli and Dr Zeegers.

There are contacts for them in the FAQs, plus plenty of other helpful information. I don't know results of other European spine surgeons, but these two doctors are an extremely good place to start
best,
Alastair
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2006, 07:46 AM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Byron,

Welcome. I have to admit, that your introductory questions are a bit unusual. Most folks are in a desperate state of pain and are looking for help understanding their condition, treatment options, etc.

If you are looking for a medical consultation, more and more doctors are providing these services at little or no charge. You can contact those offices directly, or even contact patients here on this forum that have tried some of these services. Moreover, brokers are not welcome on this forum because of conflict of interest policies (see terms of services at the bottom). Enforcing these policies to protect patients has cost me hundreds of hours of my time, which would have been better spent on other areas of community support.

If you are “bargain shopping” for ADR, then you are on a dangerous path of frustration, personal risk or worse. People that have been sold on Stenum can tell you about their disastrouse outcomes (look in the FAQs under “Stenum.”)

Bottom line: Start with an understanding of your condition, and use the community here to learn about “best” and “worst” practices. Are you a patient or a researcher? Your post states that you looking for yourself “and others?”
Tell us a bit more about your condition and your research aspirations.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2006, 01:02 PM
tmont tmont is offline
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Hi,

For what it's worth, I agree with Harrison completely. I'm an American who has been living in France for nearly 20 years (birthplace of the Prodisc among others) and have gone through 2 spine surgeries thus far. I also work as a research assistant for a talented neurosurgeon who performs ADR and have done much research on my own-- and neither of us are familiar with this organization. I will check into it, but for starters they ought to change their name, because medical treatment is far from a vacation.

That having been said, lower-cost options are out there and while not always publicized, there are highly competent surgeons in Europe who can and do perform the surgery for much less than the 'big names'.

There are also a lot of unskilled ADR surgeons out there, Stateside and elsewhere. The technology is relatively new and doctors as well as patients are climbing on board.

This is why you need to do your research on your own condition, and on the hospital/clinic/surgeon offering to perform the surgery. Nothing will ever replace your own research and knowledge, and you MUST BE your OWN BEST ADVOCATE.

Be hopeful but skeptical. Be open-minded but wary. Good luck!

Trace
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2006, 12:14 AM
nduetime nduetime is offline
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Thank you all for your replies.

I have done quite a bit of research on idea of the ADR performed overseas. I'd even say that the reason for the post fits into that category. Most of my time is spent on another forum, back support group.

As I tried to say, I know that Americans are going over to Europe for the procedure. They have listed the figure that cost them to do so. However, I don't know the specifics of it, whether or not they went through an agency service like this one or if they went on their own. This is the reason for my original post, an attempt to gather the information from specific people with experience or anyone that know of others that have. I suppose ultimately, I wanted to know if the number that people are throwing around (~$40,000) is only through a company like this (ie more expansive if they contacted the doctor directly).
As far as my personal condition. I've suffered from chronic lower back pain since I was at least 18 (10 years ago). About 4years ago, a Chiro. cracked my back a different way than before and within two weeks, total numbness on right side of lower body. Turned out to be a pinched nerve from a herniated disc. Had disctomy shortly after. Doctor told me it would fix the numbess but probably not the lower back pain that I had been experiencing.
This leads me to a question if anyone can help me with. I apologize for the tangent. Chronic lower back pain is commonly a result from herniated disc affecting the nearby nerves, correct? Is there anything else that can cause the pain? Like pain from the vertebra rubbing against each other? The pain is from the nerves correct?
Disctomy went well, numbess was gone. Pain was still present and chronic. I had x-rays, mri, ct scan and even a discogram (ouch). The last time I saw a doctor and had tests (and insurance) was about 3 years ago. At that time I had two herniated discs and one bulging disc. The pain, according to the discogram, was a cause of 2 discs. I'm sure in the past thee years, the condition has changed and all I know is my back still hurts, everyday all day.
I'm going to get insurance in the next couple of months but am prepaired to find out my back my not be covered which is the reason I'm really intereded in having the procedure done overseas where I don't have to sell my soul to have it performed here in the states.
One more question, the pain that everyone talks about, is it shooting pains or what? For me, it's this deadening numbness isolated in my lower back, no one side more than the other. It seems to be slightly affected by making tiny micro adjustments to my spine. However, nothing really makes it go away. I do receive relief when I support my body weight on my forearms on a counter or table and let my legs hang (same principal I experienced on a traction machine I did at physical theropy years ago).
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Chronic lumbar pain since at least 1996 (no major accidents, just pain)
Pinched nerve as a result from a Chiro. appointment - Jan. 2002
Lumbar Discetomy - Feb. 2002
Still experience chronic lumber pain but complete numbness on right side is gone t
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2006, 12:23 AM
nduetime nduetime is offline
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Also, even if I had the $100,000+ pay for the procedure out of my pocket here in the States, I'd be smarter to do it in Europe by a much more qualified surgeon. But, because I don't, I have to figure out how to fix my back with the funds I have or will eventually have. I will be able to one day afford the procedure, no matter where I choose, by saving my money year after year. The difference of choosing one doctor over another, with one being more expansive than the other, means I wait even longer to fix my back. I've lived with this pain for 10 years. At one time, I came to the conclussion that I'd have to live with it for the rest of my life. Then I heard of the ADR and that view changed. I will have my back fixed, the question is how much longer do I need to wait. If I had all the money in the world I'd go to the best doctor. But since I don't, it doesn't mean I'm looking for the cheapest one either.
__________________
Chronic lumbar pain since at least 1996 (no major accidents, just pain)
Pinched nerve as a result from a Chiro. appointment - Jan. 2002
Lumbar Discetomy - Feb. 2002
Still experience chronic lumber pain but complete numbness on right side is gone t
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2006, 05:59 AM
chasswen chasswen is offline
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nduetime
hello and welcome to adrsupport.org.
i when to germany for my surgery and had the best surgeon in the world do the procedure it just happened to be cheaper then here in the states. GO FIGURE.
i did not use any outside help. i was able to contact pro spine directly with out any trouble.
when you get your films done ask them to put on cd.one can then pull jpegs from the cd for emailing. invest in a cheap scanner if you dont all ready have one. scan your reports in .pdf format for emailing. my single level adr was all said and done 24,316.00 euro which at the time was about 31,500.00 USD then first class airline tickets were 2500.00 each round trip. lodging and food total was about 40k usd. and that was with staying there for 3 weeks. so i did get to see alot of germany. and mind you its a lovey area.
unless you are unsure about things with your condition then outside help really isnt needed and there are some other place that help with doctors that are much more well known. feel free to msg me or if you like you can call me i'll be glad to help you and get you pointed in the correct direction. (())
chuck
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2006, 07:17 AM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Quote:
I'd be smarter to do it in Europe by a much more qualified surgeon.
There are many, many qualified doctors here in the U.S. you can and should consult with regarding your condition. I consulted with docs from around the U.S. and Germany before my procedure, but I was delighted to find the docs at the Boston Spine Group started doing the Charite’ in 1999. That’s where I had my bionic back installed!

Regarding costs, ADR in the US seems to be coming in between $30,000 - $40,000 for a one-level lumbar procedure. And slowly but surely, some insurance companies are paying. And there are some new appeal support services becoming available too.

Please note: This board does not do any endorsements for any particular practices, near or far! Also, please read this post if you are new.
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Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2006, 07:27 AM
tmont tmont is offline
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Quote:
If I had all the money in the world I'd go to the best doctor. But since I don't, it doesn't mean I'm looking for the cheapest one either.
I hear you, ndue. Hopefully one day statements like these will no longer reflect an unfortunate reality for some.

However, I think it's important to point out that each case is unique, just as each doctor is. Although 'best' is a subjective term, the best doctor for any given case and circumstance is not necessarily the most expensive, even today.

As Harrison said, there are some fine practicians Stateside and their numbers will be growing. The TDR industry is expected to grow exponentially within the next few years. As insurance companies start to cover the procedure, and more and more centers become highly skilled in the latest technologies, in addition to FDA approval of devices and techniques, hopefully the individual patient cost will come down and the European option will no longer be necessary for Americans.

I do what I can to help find affordable and viable treatment options in Europe, but am looking forward to the day when Americans won't have to make a long trip and pay sky-high out- of- pocket rates for quality treatment options that should be available at home.

Hang in there.

Trace
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