I was suffering from Symptomatic Tarlov Cysts. (A rare condition recognized by the National Organization of Rare Diseases). It is very painful and can lead to paralysis, loss of bladder and sexual control and many other... MORE INFO
My Experience / Craig Wright
I was suffering from Symptomatic Tarlov Cysts. (A rare condition recognized by the National Organization of Rare Diseases). It is very painful and can lead to paralysis, loss of bladder and sexual control and many other disabilities depending on where it is located on the spine or sacrum. It was obvious that my insurance was nothing more than a policy written by clever lawyers enabling them to deny anything their doctors, that are ignorant to this relatively new disease, did not feel was necessary. Since they denied coverage of my surgery I had to make a decision. Live for years on various strong addictive pain medications and still be in pain facing possible paralysis and blabbing on chat lines with other people in my situation that don’t know what to do, or seek an alternative I have been living in extreme pain in my lower back, hips, buttocks, tailbone and right leg for over a year.
Could not sit, stand, sleep or walk for more than 30 minutes without Percocet just to take the edge off, still in pain at a (5-7) level with medication, lost my job and although I am 59 years old I have a wonderful younger second wife and an 8 year old son that were so worried about me. I was unable to play ball and teach him to ride a bike and play sports like a dad should. Not working for a year has put us in a financial situation that is not getting any better. Having surgery anywhere in the US was out of the question due to my insurance company’s lack of coverage. Then I remembered a business associate I traveled with through the Middle East and Asia years ago that told me he would never let a doctor in the US touch him or go to a hospital in the US unless it was an emergency. He had all his medical work from Heart Surgery to Hip Replacements in Thailand or India. He told me the hospitals and doctors over there put the US to shame and are a fraction of the cost. That’s when I went on line and found a company called "Planet Hospital" that specializes in "Medical Tourism".
What you do is you send them your condition and films and a doctor calls you back (no charge) and discusses your situation with you. He then sends the films and info to dozens of surgeons all over the world. Surgeons that feel they are qualified. Then they send you quotes to have the procedure done all inclusive. I did this and got two quotes from different surgeons in Germany, India. Planet Hospital arranged for the surgeons to call me for phone consultations and I spoke with Dr. B. Walia. I asked him all the same questions about TC's that I asked Dr. Shaya and Dr Long one of the top neurosurgeons in the US that is familiar with my rare condition. His answers were identical. He still said he thought my pain could be from something other than the TC. I sent him the tests I had done here that definitely ruled out all other causes except the TC. He then agreed that the pain was from the large TC on the right side of my S2.
I asked him what he recommended. He stated that he could not tell until he went in whether the nerves were just being pressed or aggravated by the TC or if the nerves were engulfed in the walls of the cyst. He had done dozens of these procedures with positive results. If the TC was just putting pressure on the nerves it could be removed. If the nerves were engulfed in the walls he would aspirate it and with Fibrin Glue glue, glue muscle tissue over the cyst to prevent it from coming back. (Laminectomy with Resection) exactly what Dr. Long and Dr. Shaya recommended) I checked his credentials and he was highly rated. The hospital is rated higher in sanitation and quality of service than most all of the hospitals in the US. Planet Hospital states they use only accredited facilities and surgeons accredited by the US Joint Commission or International Departments that rate facilities and approve them.
They also offer all inclusive packages including the entire procedure by the surgeon, all hospital costs, all medications, a concierge to stay with you to interpret or take care of any of your needs and airfare. This also includes the cost of a companion, spouse or family member to accompany you!! They offer an optional insurance policy that covers any additional costs due to complications if any while in the hospital, $25,000 life insurance and 60 days of aftercare once you return to the US. I was scared and skeptical of doing something like this but I was at the end of my rope and felt I had no other options. I checked with others that had done this for heart, spinal and many other surgeries and they all said they were so glad they did and that I would not believe how superior the care in India was to that in the US. After much praying and homework and a lot of dedicated efforts on behalf of Planet Hospital and their staff, I boarded a plane with my daughter (35 yrs old) on June 11 for a 22 hour flight to New Delhi India.
I was in a wheelchair the whole trip and met by a concierge with a sign with my name and "Planet Hospital" on it. He and two assistants got my daughter’s and my luggage, whisked us through customs and immigrations to a van waiting to take us to a Hilton Hotel next door to the hospital. We rested that night. The next day “Mr. Prem” my concierge picked us up and we went to the hospital and were put in a room with a hospital bed for me, a sofa bed for my daughter and coffee table visitor chairs, immaculate shower and restroom, satellite TV. Etc. It was as nice as the Hilton. In 8 hours they did all pre-op testing including, EKG, Pulmonary function tests, X rays, blood work and deemed I was cleared for surgery the next day. The hospital was immaculate and the operating room was like something from a science fiction movie from the next century. Dr Walia had met and went over with me on three occasions during the day as to what was going to happen. My daughter and I felt very confident with Dr. Walia ! On June 14, I said goodbye to my daughter as they wheeled me in the operating room. There were about 10 people in the room covered from head to toe with masks and covers. I went under sedation and that was the last thing I remembered. When I came to in ICU in a private room with 2 nurses by my bedside I was in a lot of pain. They gave me medication and held my hand, rubbed my legs and kept telling me I was fine and ANYTHING I wanted to let them know.
They never left my bedside. Dr. Walia came in and sat with me to explain what happened. He told me the surgery went very well! He said the large TC that was the cause of my pain had the nerves totally engulfed in the walls so removing it was not an option. He said there were two other TC's nearby so he did a test to see if they were communicating with each other. They were not but to be safe he aspirated all three cysts and with Fibrin glue and muscle he sealed all three to lessen the possibility that they would become an issue. He sewed me up and said it all looked good. The next day I joined my daughter in the hospital room where she had slept that night. I was introduced to my dietitian and physical therapist that would be working with me for the next 5 days They are not big on pain medication in India and I was in a lot of pain. The only thing they would give me was morphine which doesn't really work on me for some reason but it made it bearable (6-7). I did not sleep that night. The next day my pain was decreasing down to 3-4.
One thing I noticed was that the pain was from the mostly from the incision area not from where the TC was causing pain in my hips, buttocks and leg. After working with the Physical Therapist, eating right and the 24 hr care by the dedicated nursing, housekeeping and sanitation staff that bathed me every a day, cut my hair, gave me a shave and were just unbelievable. The vice grip that was on my tailbone for a year and the pain associated with it was almost gone. The Physical Therapist that had me doing exercises in bed now had me up and learning to walk correctly, the next day it was stairs. After 5 days I was discharged and checked into a suite in the “Svelte Hotel” across from the hospital that was 5 stars with a separate living room full kitchen, room service and connected to a mall with every shop imaginable. After 4 days there I went back to the hospital, they removed the stitches, did some tests and cleared me to fly home.
My daughter and I did one day of sight seeing. We saw the Ghandi Museum and the Lotus Temple. We could have went to the Taj Mahol but I did not want to push it as it was a 4 hour car ride each way and not very smooth. The miracle was I was walking and in a lot less pain then before the surgery.. I asked if I could buy some of the staff a gift or something and I was told by all that, "if I just told them that they in anyway made me feel more comfortable that that was the best gift I could give them". My daughter and I took a picture with some of the staff and had it blown up and framed. We wrote "Thank You to all the staff with all our Love" and signed it. We asked the concierge to post it somewhere and they said the staff would be so happy and proud to receive this picture of thanks. We flew home, it has not even been 4 weeks and I am just experiencing a mild pain where the muscle and incision were cut. The pain from the TC is almost gone! Dr. Walia said it would be 4-6 weeks to know if the TC pain was 100% gone. Yesterday I walked with my wife and son for the first time in a year along the golf course in our back yard for almost a 1/2 mile and felt great.
I don't know how long it will last but Dr. Walia said it should not bother me anymore. I have my life back! I showed my films and all my pre-op and post-op documents and films to my Pain Management doctor here as he wanted to know how the surgery went when I got back. He doubted going to a third world country for medical work was a good idea. He just shook his head and said, "What are we doing wrong here? What a bureaucracy we are engulfed in. It looks like your surgery went very well. To sum it up, my incision is barely visible, completely healed. I can sit, walk and hope soon to get back to work and it has not been a month since the surgery! The amazing part of the whole thing is the total cost including the airfare for two, surgery, all hospital costs, medications, hotels, meals, shopping from the time I left the US until I got home was around what my co pay would have been had I had the surgery here and my insurance covered 80%. Yes!
The entire trip was around $20,000 !!!! This cost can vary depending on your situation but the cost can be a fraction of the cost of having the procedure done here, and the quality of care was far superior to all my hospital visits in the US. God Bless Rudy Rupak for starting "Planet Hospital" and helping 100's of thousands of people get medical care they could never have afforded. Dr. B. Walia is a talented surgeon with total knowledge of Tarlov Cysts’ and their treatment and he is unknown to the people I know in the US, Europe and Australia that are suffering from this disease. I cannot thank him and his team enough for giving me my life back. I am going to share my experience and post it on the Tarlov Cyst Group. I suggest anyone suffering from a Tarlov Cyst, go to www.planethospital.com and click on the “press/fans” tab and see some of the stories and read some of the testimonials. Then ask Rudy to put you in touch with Dr. B. Walia. To Rudy, Jenna and the entire staff at Planet Hospital, Dr. Walia and all his staff in New Delhi, all I can say is that your genuine care for your clients and their well being is so refreshing and rare in today’s world. Your attention, hard work and availability at all times to answer any question or assist with any need is unmatched by any company and medical facility I have ever dealt with.
After many years in pain I finally took the situation into my own hands and found assistance from Geoff at Planethospital. I am 47 year old woman who has been suffering with Spinal Stenosis and Spondylosthesis. I did all the necessary physio, spinal injections, massage, acupuncture and kept myself in good physical shape all without any positive results. The constant pain just continued to get worse and worse. Throughout these years I was scheduled for several MRI's, and many whole day trips to see spinal specialists, all resulting in being told, "Come back when you can no longer walk." and, "If you have a loss of bowel control, get into the hospital immediately!" These were all comments from one specialist that I went to for a three year period of time. He stated, "Your too young to have spinal surgery." Well I disagreed, I am too young to live in pain every day all day, so I got another opinion in another prominent city with yet another spinal specialist. I was relieved to finally have someone say that I absolutely was a candidate for surgery. However he told me I had to go through the protocol of his clinic and do the physio and medication ritual for a period of six months before he could send a requisition to the surgeon. Although I had been doing just that for a few years I thought another six months is not long. I was prescribed the following for pain relief: Hydromorphine Gabapentine Cymbalta As well as taking medication for High blood pressure. (I am only 47, not overweight, do not smoke and stay physically fit.) For the next three months I tried to get used to the medications, and although they did make my pain bearable, I felt disengaged, dizzy, and fatigued all the time. I had had enough and went and pleaded with the spinal specialist to send the requisition three months early and he agreed. I was so excited and emotionally relieved............until I was told the wait to even see the surgeon for a consult would be at least a 6 month wait and another 1-2 years before the surgery. Again I felt totally defeated. I looked into private clinics in Canada and was told they do not do the type of surgery I require, which was a spinal fusion and dysectomy. So I went on-line to research the USA and found that the cost there would be 60-100 thousand dollars!!! The daily pain and emotional stress was all encompassing throughout my work day I was obsessed with finding a solution. Then one day a co-worker suggested traveling to India as they have reputable surgeons with minimal cost. That very day I began to research the Medical Tourism Industry. I sent my initial MRI reports to several companies, and many got back to me the very next day. I was given alot of information regarding different hospitals, Neurosurgeons, as well as quotes for the surgery. It seemed like an impossible decision to make until I received a call from Geoff at Planethospital. He was not only reassuring, but persistent and spoke English, as many others were difficult to understand. He promised me he would get me the best Neurosurgeon in this field and at the best possible cost. He sent me information and set up a conversation with the surgeon that I chose. I was pleasantly surprised that the surgeon at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Bangalore India was easy to communicate with and reassured me that he definitely could fix my problem. He described the procedure and what I could expect. Geoff continued to help me in getting my medical visa for myself and my two other companions and was available to assist me or address any concerns that I had. Unlike Canada I did not have to wait long and booked to fly out within three weeks. I was so determined and confident in my decision that I had little to no fear in having this done. Everything went very smoothly; we were picked up from the airport by hospital staff and taken directly to the hospital and had a meeting with my surgeon. We all agreed we felt very comfortable with, not only the surgeon, but the hospital as well. It was clean, modern and demonstrated very high security standards. The next day I had some preliminary test done that included an ex-ray, MRI and blood work-up all in one day with the results back the very next day. Unheard of in Canada. Again the surgeon and I went over the results and directives and my surgery was scheduled for the next morning. While in the Hospital I was assigned a personal liaison to assist with non-medical issues or concerns. He was very helpful in booking accommodations for myself and friends for the duration of our time in India. We were given cell phone numbers of both him as well as the surgeon. In addition the nursing staff was fantastic, the food amazing and I felt great. Only issue was the day after surgery I was in alot of discomfort and found the staff and my surgeon reluctant to give enough pain medication to alleviate my pain, but after some persuasion I was given enough to deal with it. It has been 5 weeks since my surgery and if asked if I would do it again I wouldn't do anything differently. We experienced so many wonderful people and saw so many incredibly beautiful places that, what should have been a negative experience, was instead a trip I will never forget. Upon returning to Canada, Geoff of Planethospital was still corresponding with me to make sure everything went well. I am grateful for all the assistance and I believe that if Geoff was not as understanding and persistent as he was, I would still be in pain and suffering mentally every day. I was at an all time low feeling hopeless and very depressed. I was very concerned about taking morphine for another two years waiting for Alberta health care. Oh, I almost forgot.............the cost of surgery was; in total just under ten thousand dollars!! I have to say so worth it!! Thanks Geoff and Planethospital keep up the great work in helping people!!
As this was my first time going overseas to do MAJOR surgery, I was quite apprehensive. Not having insurance sucks, but luckily, not having insurance lead me to Planet Hospital and South Korea (Ahnsei Hospital) for my state of the art spine surgery. Most of my American doctors had never told me about Disc Replacement surgery, because most doctors don't know or are afraid to recommend it. To them it's new, to my Ahnsei Hospital doctor, it was a procedure he had done hundreds of time of the last 10 years. Planet Hospital lead me to them. PH lead me to the best possible hospital, with the best doctors and nurses at prices that surprised me. I was in South Korea for 11 days in a beautiful room with round the clock care. I actually felt like a new born baby, because they treated me so well. I felt kind of spoiled. The head nurse was like a on staff mom :) There were a few problems along the way, but PH was there to clean up and facilitate any messes quickly. I don't think I could have done this on my own, and I've been to Korea before. Having PH back me up for translating and managing the billing process made the experience so much easier. What I loved the most was how aggressive the PH staff was at getting me the price I wanted in the time frame I need the operation done. Getting to talk to the CEO directly calmed my fears and he let me know the price I was quoted would be what I paid. And that's what I paid. He ended up negotiating 24K for a treatment that would have been at least 40K-65K in America. Again, I was in the hospital for 11 days. It was sweet. Crap, well, I'm starting to sound like an ad for Planet Hospital, so I'll stop now. But overall, I love that PH was there for me the whole way, and NOW I'm better than I've been in 5 years. I love PH and I love Ahnsei Hospital. GO TEAM GO!
Mr. Moss helped me on my upcoming surgery. He looked into everything...communicating with doctors in India, costs, etc. After a little time and having the doctors in India review my MRI, they could have easily said I needed surgery. They could have easily taken my funds leaving me out in the cold wondering what to do next. Fortunately I didn't require surgery. I felt comfortable with PH service. This company is actually providing health care at a fraction of the cost in America! From this day forward, I'm talking with Planet Hospital for all my serious medical concerns. Andrew
Hip Resurfacing Surgery performed by Dr. Vijay Bose.
10 December 2010 - Aloha Dr.Bose, My post op update: I have had a remarkable experience as I have had no problems at all.I have been a bit Conservative with my exercises but as of last week I walk atleat two or three miles on the beach daily.I have never h... MORE INFO
10 December 2010 - Aloha Dr.Bose, My post op update: I have had a remarkable experience as I have had no problems at all.I have been a bit Conservative with my exercises but as of last week I walk atleat two or three miles on the beach daily.I have never had pain or swelling since the surgery.
I am able to stand up straight and all my friends think Iam taller! I have actually become something of a local celebrity as people come up to me and tell me how much Iam improving.One man yesterday said "I can't believe it...you look normal!"
My local doctors are extremely impressed.
Iam still excercising with crutches in the morning as Iam trying to rid myself of my previous limp.I walk with perfect posture for approximately 100 yards and then do my leg exercises.I repeat this three times,My limp is 85 percent gone.I will keep you updated.
I miss everyone at your hospital,they are absolutely the cutting edge of competent compassionate health care.Thank you again for a wonderful experience.
Mark Magennis - USA,25.10.10
Hip Resurfacing Surgery - 02/Sept/10
I journeyed to India for my hip replacement
23 November 2010 - Dr.Bose,and Mohan, It has been almost two and a half years since I journeyed to Chennai for my Birmingham hip replacement, and for the most part things are good with my new hip joint. The experience has had a profound effect on my life. ... MORE INFO
23 November 2010 - Dr.Bose,and Mohan, It has been almost two and a half years since I journeyed to Chennai for my Birmingham hip replacement, and for the most part things are good with my new hip joint. The experience has had a profound effect on my life. I have since cut my long hair, and am still living in Alaska and enjoying my mobility once again. In the past few years I have had a return to pain free activities.
One year post operation I traversed the Bagley Ice Field without air support for 200 miles in 28 days through one of the most remote and beautiful landscapes in the world. Here are a few pictures of the Kite ski expedition i took for my one year post operation anniversary. I have also started surfing, have climbed numerous mountains, and completed many long wilderness trips here in Alaska, all with confidence and smile on my face.
For this I thank the both of you. You have allowed me to remain active, and able to share the experiences of living amongst the mountains and ocean.
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