Five months ago, Mr. J.V. an American living in Portugal, sent us an inquiry through our international patient center describing his back problems. Joe a very active 39 years old, avid surfer and wine expert, was suffering since 1996. First MRI done in 2003 showed a 3 mm bulging L5-S1 disc. With his significantly large canal space, surgery was not necessary. However, in last few years his problems continued getting worse. Considering he is very athletic and a semi-professional sportsman for many years, this was not acceptable to him. His spinal, low-back and leg problems were significantly limiting his everyday activities.
In the year 2009 he visited Daniel S.J. Choy, M.D., Founder and Medical Director of the Laser Spine Center, inventor of the laser spinal surgery technique called PLDD (Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression). Dr. Choy’s professional opinion was that Mr. Veselko’s case required two-level laser spine surgery. He tried everything from chiropractors, physio therapy, pilates, yoga… Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons in Portugal did not advise surgery because his case was not ideal for traditional open surgery performed there.
Then in June 2010 he found out about us and sent us an email requesting a second neurosurgical opinion by doctor Robert Saftic, spinal surgeon from Croatia. Based on his CAT scan and patient history form, the conclusion was that the patient’s problems were caused by degenerative disc disease at two levels, L4-L5 and L5-S1. His decision was to come to Croatia ASAP, and of course we helped him by scheduling his surgery in just 2 weeks time. So, Wednesday 7th July was his surgery date. Patient adviser and advocate Roberto Posavec , met him at the Zagreb Airport, and escorted him to the Antunovic hotel. On the second day, he and Mr. Posavec visited around the town, had lunch, and tried some Croatian wines (in very small amounts) to psychologically prepare Mr. Veselko for his surgery that was scheduled the following day. The 7th of July arrived very fast and Mr. Veselko was fully ready for the laser spine surgery. Although he had needle fears, he had no problems prior or during the surgery. To his surprise and disbelief , the surgery took just 45 minutes and the two disc were completed by laser. Surgery was performed by spinal neurosurgeon doctor Robert Saftic.
Live gallery from operating room:
Now, after five months passing, Mr. Veselko has fully recovered and returned to his everyday life. His future health depends on way of his life, that is why he was instructed to keep in shape and to keep doing exercises to keep his back in optimal condition.
This is Mr. Veselko’s letter to us only few days ago:
“I had suffered lower back pain for years. About 16 years from an initial work accident where I had not bent my knees properly when picking up a small object from the floor. I’ve always been quite active and athletic. I had lived with pain for so many years. I had gotten to the point where my life was being severely compromised and I was just tired of living with the continual lower back pain, constant soreness, occasional numbness, and leg weakness. Over the years, I tried everything and had spent a fortune on Chiropractic visits, yoga type exercises, etc. Everything only seemed to inflame my situation for the worse. I had looked globally for a solution where I was focused on finding the most minimally invasive techniques. I’ve seen firsthand problems with close friends who had performed open back surgery on disc problems. There was no way I was going that course. I had found out about the PLDD laser surgery technique invented by Dr. Choy in New York. I personally visited him, but could not afford the technique in the USA. I began looking elsewhere. I first looked to India as I was finding quite a bit of information about back surgery performed there. I sent them my first scans, but never arrived through the mail system. I sent another set of scans with a horrifying suggestion that I needed a major surgery with implants. This did not coincide with any of the prior professional opinions which I already received from individuals in the US or Portugal where I currently reside. They also could not verify with me that they actually performed the PLDD surgery. There seemed to be too many unknowns and too far a journey for me to consider India as an option. So, India was out of the question. I then to my surprise found out that the PLDD technique was being performed in Croatia. I researched Dr. Saftics’ background and found his experience to be of a solid international foundation. His opinion as well was equal to what Dr. Choy in the US suggested. I contacted Roberto Posavec who is in charge of taking care of all international patients. He spoke English quite well and was extremely professional in the entire process. Everything was quite simple from start to finish. I arrived in Zagreb where he picked me up from the airport and took me to the Antunovic hotel which was without a doubt one of the nicest hotels in Zagreb. The food as well was great with a variety of options. I felt more like I was going on vacation than anything. Well, to make a long story short. The clinic was new, modern, and absolutely first class. It is as good if not better than anything that I’ve seen in the states or western Europe where I live. The surgery was short and I was out the next day. I followed all of their directions in wearing a back brace and went forward with the exercise program given to me in the short weeks to follow. I was literally feeling great in about 10 days. After 2 and half months I ended up going to northern Sumatra on a great surf trip for 12 days where I surfed for 6 hours a day. I had absolutely no back pain and was surfing like a kid again. I highly recommend taking a look at Croatia as Dr. Saftic is very qualified in all aspects of back surgeries. I feel confident that I made the right decision now that more than 5 months have passed. I urge anyone to reach out to me personally if they have any questions concerning their problems.
(contact clinic for my email)”
Mr. V surfing after two-level laser spinal surgery in Croatia (PLDD):