Spine surgery during the COVID-19 crisis: the experience of an Italian patient at Instituto Clavel

The COVID-19 crisis forced us to postpone many personal and professional events. However, we know that pathologies need to be treated without delay, that’s why we’ve adopted measures to ensure both our team and the patient is safe and our operation rooms have been available since April 27th. Meet Daniele Valenti, an Italian patient who came from Italy for a lumbar microdiscectomy at Instituto Clavel Barcelona.

Daniele Valenti has suffered from lumbar pain for some time and needed a solution for his problem. In Italy, he consulted different specialists and was offered only one option: fusion surgery. This option didn’t convince him due to its risks and the loss of mobility.

Researching on the internet, he found Instituto Clavel and decided to book an online appointment to get his case evaluated and receive a second opinion by a specialist in minimally invasive spine surgery. He sent us tests, our team evaluated his case together and determined that Daniele didn’t need a fusion, his lumbar disc herniation could be treated through a microdiscectomy.

This alternative is less complex and less invasive than fusion. This technique consists in extracting the damaged tissue from the lumbar disc to eliminate the pain caused by the compressed nerve root. Using a special microscope, we get an amplified image of the area and the surgery can be done with a minimal incision. This reduces greatly the damage of nearby tissue and the recovery is much faster.

“It was such a surprise for me, I decided to trust in Dr Clavel”, explains the patient thrilled. As soon as he knew this option was available, less risky than fusion, he didn’t hesitate and traveled to Spain to carry out the procedure.

The trip from Italy to Spain

Once Daniele decided to undergo the operation at Instituto Clavel, we helped him to research on different transport alternatives during the pandemic. Evaluating the different options, the patient decided to travel by car with his wife.

It was a long trip, more than 12 hours. However, given that he was feeling ok, he wouldn’t be driving alone and he was prepared to do it, doctors authorized the trip and Daniele started it right away.

The patient also needed an authorization from the embassy and carried the permit with him during the journey “the trip went well, I was comfortable and didn’t have any issue”. Daniele assured us.

The stay in Barcelona: safety protocol, operation and rehab

Daniele and his wife arrived at Barcelona 2 days prior the surgery. “That very afternoon we went to meet everyone and confirm the appointment the following day. It was reassuring”, he explains. Before the operation he did all the necessary tests, including COVID-19.

The couple stayed a week at Hotel Bertran, located walking distance from Instituto Clavel. The hotel, Instituto Clavel and FisioSpine made them feel safe and protected from the pandemic. “Everyone wore masks, gloves and kept social distance. In the same way as a supermarket when you buy food”.

Read about our security measures

Two days later, it was the operation day and everything went very well, just as expected. The following morning Daniele was able to walk and was discharged from the hospital. The rest of the week he went to 5 rehab appointments at FisioSpine and enjoyed the city.

The day before returning Italy, he went to an appointment with Dr Clavel who confirmed everything was fine and gave him recommendations for the recovery.

Return home and recovery

The return journey went smoothly, Daniele followed the recommendations of the medical team and took regular breaks during the car trip.

Days after the surgery we interviewed him and this was what he said: “I’m feeling great! The only thing is that my legs are a bit weak, a common symptom that will disappear in time”. When we asked him how would he score this experience, he said without a doubt: “from zero to ten? I’m completely satisfied, ten of ten. There is no reason why I wouldn’t be. My experience has been really great, I haven’t felt pain or need for any pain relief pills. The surgery went extremely well”.

Now he needs to follow the recommendations, rest and recover completely. Our team is available whenever he needs us and will have an online follow up consultation the next couples of months. At Instituto Clavel, we have extensive experience treating international patients and our process is fully adapted to be carry out remotely.

Would you like to know more about our treatments? Visit our website or contact us so we can give you a personalized assessment. We also encourage you to visit our YouTube channel to find out more about other patients stories at Instituto Clavel.

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