Joanne Butman chose Germany as the site for her surgery....

From: Helen Dynda (
Wed Jun 21 20:29:07 2000

NOTE: As of today - this list includes every message, which Joanne Butman shared on the International Adhesions Society message Board, about her trip to Germany for surgery. She has shared alot of information here - information which may be very helpful for you, if you have thoughts about going to Germany for surgery too. Thank you, Joanne, for the gift of your experience!!

Through a friend who lives in Germany, Joanne had heard about the success which the German surgeon, Dr. Matthias Korell, was having with surgeries for adhesions. Joanne knew she needed to find a surgeon, who would be able to help her; so she decided to have her surgery done in Germany. Joanne had her surgery done on March 09, 2000 - done laparoscopically!! Ten days later Joanne was on a plane headed back to California, her home state. From the information she has shared, you can tell that she is elated about the results of her surgery!!

Joanne was able to benefit from Dr. Korell's use of the gel adhesion barrier, Intergel, at the conclusion of her surgery. Since Intergel is a liquid, it can offer better protection from adhesions than can the current adhesion barriers, Interceed and Seprafilm. Surgeons in Europe have been able to use Intergel at the conclusion of surgical procedures since 1998. Unfortunately, Intergel has not yet been approved by the FDA for use in surgical procedures in the United States. 1.) Re: New to the Board

January 24, 2000 at: 22:23

Hi Ginni, I feel so bad about your situation. After my first surgery I was in so much pain from both a trapped nerve and adhesions, both of which were getting worse by the day as the suture sight healed. I was a terrible mother. I cried most of the time and yelled at anyone who bumped into me or my chair. I could not cook one meal for 4 months. I felt so sorry for my kids. I still have both complications but fortunately the nerve is better now since the surgeon scraped off a mass of nerves from the suture sight. My pain meds cover the pain now and I am a wonderful mother again to my 3 sons. I wish you could try the Intergel on your next surgery. I am flying to Germany to try it. I will pray for those little children to get their mom back and I'll keep you posted on my surgery in March. With love, Joanne

2.) Re: Coping without surgery

February 1, 2000 at: 10:02

Dear Richard, I am touched by your great concern for your wife. I am traveling to Germany to use the intergel in March. My doctor has had so much success with it. Another thing that helps me greatly is a medication called Neurontin. It is used together with my pain meds and seems to relieve the pain to where I have normal days most of the time. It is used for nerve damage. I'll keep you posted on my surgery in March. I refuse to live like this!!

3.) Re: adhesion barriers

February 01, 2000 at: 10:20

Dear Margo, If you hear of any doctors in Canada using the Intergel, let me know. I am traveling to Germany to get rid of the pain. It is amazingly cheap, however. Only 3,000 to 5 thousand for the surgery and 500 for airfair. That includes 7 days in the hospital. I can't wait to try it. Thanks, Joanne

4.) Re: Pain, Surgery, Intergel

February 12, 2000 at: 19:35

Dear Robyn, I am answering this as you asked about pain meds. I have been on Methadone for 2 years. I take it every four hours ( 20 mgs.). Along with it I take 600 mgs of Neurontin. This drug has been a miracle for me. It is used for epilepsy to slow the shaking. I have had some nerve involvement in my surgeries, however, Neurontin is used widely for pain. It is not a narcotic and there are very few side effects. In total, I take 22 pills a day counting my Prozac, horomones and Trazadone. I live a fairly normal life this way, taking classes and taking care of my family. Most people don't know that I am sick. However, I have decided to take one more try at surgery. I am flying to Germany next month to have my surgery done by a doctor who has had much success with the Intergel. I refuse to live like this!! I'll keep you posted. Good luck to you. Joanne

5.) Surgery in Germany

March 19, 2000 at: 09:13

Hi all. Just want to let you all know that I have returned from Germany yesterday where 10 days ago I had Dr. Korell do a laparoscopy surgery in which he removed my millions of adhesions that covered the bowels. Also he removed my neuroma that had formed at the top of the vaginal wall following my hysterectomy in 97. I walked 5 hours around Munich 5 days later. If anyone is interested please contact me. It is so easy and inexpensive. The hospital kept me 5 days but you can stay 7 or 8 if you like. The charge is 350 dollars a day and the surgery was about 2,500 dollars. My total was around 4,500! He is a master with a scope and is known by Dr. Wiseman. I will keep you posted as to the possible regrowth of those horrible adhesions. Wish me good luck. I have a chance to have my life back. Joanne Butman

6.) 10 weeks post op and no more adhesions!

May 14, 2000 at: 17:46

I hope that you all have read my new quilt but I took the big gamble in Germany in March and flew to the BEST surgoen imaginable. Through a scope he removed "massive abdominal adhesions. I felt cured right away and each day I feel thinner and better. I also had a neuroma stuck at the top of my vaginal wall where my hyst. was pulled through and I am getting better everyday with that too. That was painful!! The Intergel works. There is no reason for worry about infection. Dr. Korell has been using it for 5 years with success. Dr. Wiseman knows Dr. Korell. The surgery is so inexpensive also and the hospital keeps you for 5- 7 days after a scope at a cost of 350.00 per day. Please contact me for more info. Thanks, Joanne. ps. Hello ,Richard. I see your wife has cancelled her surgery. Maybe you will take her to Germany for a full cure. Joanne

7.) Re: severe endo, three surgerys and finally complete hyst....problems with scar tissue

May 15, 2000 at: 14:45

Judy, I also had that happen to me. I could feel the adhesions coming back at 5 weeks post op. I could feel them growing until 10 or 11 weeks post op. I was scared to death. I thought that they would strangle my bowels. But then, at 10 weeks it stopped and stayed at that level of pain for 1 and 1/2 years. The last few months it started to change again and I got more and more tired and feeling as though my stomach was so hard. The longer that they are in you, the harder they get. I walked around like an 80 year old and lived on pain meds. They were removed in Germany in March and now I can wear my bathing suit again. I hope it stays this way. Joanne Butman

8.) Richard Hagen

May 15, 2000 at: 14:56

I am so glad that you responded. I really feel that Dr. Korell is your man. He is at He told me that I may tell the world about him and I feel as though I must. There is life and there is Intergel. It makes NO sense to go into surgery without it. And what a wonderful man he is! He is my angel. I was told by all the surgeons that there was no cure for my Neuroma. I lived on 10 Neurontin ( anti seizure med)and 10 Methadone a day for the horrible nerve and adhesion pain. He diagnosed it ovr the internet and saved my life. I am down to 3 Methadone a day. I can only go down 5% a week. I now have a life while I was told by the best ( I even went to Dr. Rapkin at UCLA ) that there was no help for either one of my problems. Please E-Mail him right away. The surgry itself is only about 2,000 dollars and the rom is 350 a day. I can give you other details if you decide to go. (the food is pretty bad!) but the nurses a oanne

9.) Helen

May 15, 2000 at: 8:27 AM

I hope that I can answer your questions. You have been so helpful to me and to all those hundreds of people that have written to you and I want to thank you for that. On my trip to Germany, the plane fare was only 500 round trip as I went in the winter. The surgery was somewhere around 2,000 dollars. No, he did not take a video but he did take pictures. You can imagine what massive bowel adhesions look like. I have a full surgical report. He wanted me to stay for 10 days in case he had to open me up so I booked the flight for that long. He was able to remove the scar tissue and all the adhesions by the scope as he had hoped and so he let me go after 5 days. My best friend lives in Munich and so I took the train across the country and stayed with her for the remaining week. Yes, I went alone. Scared out of my mind, but Dr. Korell's secretary got a hotel room for me in Duisburg for the arrival night. I had to take the s-bahn train from Dusseldorf to Duisberg where Dr. Korell is chief of gynecology. I had a great time in Munich but I got severely homesick because my pain was so bad. Remember, he had to cut off the top of my vaginal wall to get at the nueroma. Ouch. Otherwise, the surgery would be much less painfull. If you have any more questions, let me know. And feel free to e-mail him. He has written a book on laparoscopy and considers himself to be one of the 2 best in the world. His success rates are not at 100 % with the intergel yet. I was given a 15% chance for them all to return and was told that for certain, some would come back and I can't remember the rest of the numbers. He told me that he knows Dr. Wiseman well. I was a bit surprised. Yes, that is my new E-mail address and please send it on to Dr. Wiseman. I e-mailed him on my return from Germany with regards from Dr. Korell but he wrote back to someone named Helen so I don't thik he knew who I was. Take care and feel free to contact me again. Joanne

10.) Re: Germany

May 16, 2000 at: 20:44

Hi Karla, I cannot seem to find the e-mail with your questions. If I remember, you asked about blood clotting and ringers. I don't know the answer but I suggest that you e-mail him directly. He is at He is great at answering letters. He is by Dusseldorf in the north. Hope you get to go. Joanne

11.) Re: Karla N's questions about Joanne B's surgery in Germany...

May 17, 2000 at: 15:10

I really can't answer most of those questions. I have reread my surgical report which was much lengthier in German. Dr. Korell uses "sharp disection" to remove the adhesions to prevent regrowth. He writes that he used "extensive irrigation" before instlling the Intergel. It looks as though the total price for his surgery was 2,175 DM which is half that amount in our dollars. That includes all tests, exams, photos etc. Again, the room was 350 dollars a day. I have a comlete breakdown of costs. I wish I could help more but as I said before, feel free to e-mail him. Joanne

12.) Re: Tracy

May 19, 2000 at: 9:39

Tracy, Where is your pain and what kinds of pain meds are you on? I also had pain that far exceeded the pain that adhesions should have caused. Joanne

13.) Re: Germany questions

May 19, 2000 at: 10:17

I'll do the best I can to answer all these. I went alone to Germany as I have no money after 21/2 years on disability. I went in the winter so thaat I could get the air rate of 500 dollars (from San Diego and back). I do not speak a word of German. This was VERY scary for me. Dr. Korell's secretary booked a very inexpensive room for me at an Ibis hotel. This hotel was connected to the train station. I got German money from the bank of America or you can go to any money changer.before you leave. I made a mistake and did not bring any cash, only travelers checks. When you get out of the airport, there is a bank but there is also a line. The train station is attached to the airport. It is on an honor system. You put in your money and a ticket will come out. I took 2 trains, one to the center of Dusseldorf ( the city that I flew in to) and then another to Duisburg where the hospital is.) But I could have taken just one but it comes less often (on the hour) God sent an angel to be with me at that moment. A scottish girl walked down the stairs to the train station behind me and helped me with my ticket (she bought it for me as I still did not have German money). When I got to Duisburg ( it was noon in Germany) i asked for the Ibis hotel and almost all people speak English. I did some studying before I left and carried a dictionary with me. I was amazed that the hotel was right there. I checked in and was so excited to be back in Europe, that I went shopping right away. The hotel is connected to the downtown shopping street. I had a great time and found a bank to change my money. I checked in with Dr. Korell's secretary, Carmen, who speaks english, at 9:00 am. I carried one suitcase on wheels. It was perfect. The room had a closet with plenty of room. We went to the cashiers office where I paid for 5 days room. (2 thousand dollars). In Germany, they do not kick you out like they do here. I paid Dr. Korell after the surgery. I made a check out to him for too much money and so now I am stil awaiting a refund. But the surgery was only around 1,500. There is a bank about a mile from the hospital that will cash travelers checks. So you could take a taxi there before you check out to pay Dr. Korell. That way, you will not have all that cash with you. The nurses were great! I loved the whole experience. Only a few spoke english well but we laughed so much trying to make conversation. It is very different from an American hospital as it is more like a hotel. You should bring your own towels. The nurses only take blood pressures in the morning. The rest of the time, they don't bug you. I had 2 roomates and we did well with communication. On the 5th day, I toured the city on the bus which picked me up outside the hospital. Remember that I had 2 surgeries and was in a little more pain than you will be. But treat yourself to the 5 days. I brought books on tape so that I could hear my language. You wil not be able to understand the TV. It was great. I felt like a pioneer and hoped that someday, I could help others too. I have always been very brave. You will only need a passport and no visa. I brought my own pain meds and took care of that myself as I was on 100 mgs a day of Methadone and 3,000 mgs of Neurontin to stop the shaking of the trapped nerve. They did give me something to help me sleep the night before. I woke up after surgery right in my own hospital bed. No recovery room. If you bring a companion, they could stay at the Ibis, at about 60 dollars a night. The taxi from the hotel was about 6 dollars or so. I have a dear friend who found Dr. Korell for me and lives in Munich. I took the train to Munich for another 5 days and flew hme from there. I hope all this helps you. I loved my experience in Duisberg. And I love the way I feel now. No more adhesions! I hope this helped you. Joanne

14.) Re: Germany questions

May 19, 2000 at 19:34

Hi Bev, I am so glad that you have contacted Dr. Korell. I had been to Europe 3 times before but not since 1974 and never to Germany. I went on a college internship to Denmark and to Greece and France in my teen years. I loved it so much. Germany is the same, beautiful, friendly and quaint. As soon as I landed in Dusseldorf I felt a calm come over me. It is so safe there. I made a mistake when I boarded the plane in San Diego and took two Trazadone ( an antideppressant that I take at night that helps me sleep). I normally take 1/2 and so it knocked me out. I slept the whole way, both plane flights and so when I arrived I couldn't wait to go shopping even though it was 3:00 in the morning my time. It turned out to be the best mistake and so I did it on the way home also. My friend Evi could not help you unless you wanted to call her. She is a 7 hour train ride across the country. She found Dr. Korell when he worked in Munich but then he got promoted to chief of staff in Duisburg. The money that I brought was in German travelers checks. I would suggest getting some german money for the train. If you are not on a budget you could take a cab to the hospital. You will need 2 thousand in cash when you get there in german money so go one day early as I did and find a bank that exchanges travelers checks. Not all of them do as I found out but the 2nd one did and the one up the street from the hospital does. I am so happy that I can help some of you. I didn't write sooner because I took two very difficult classes at a college this semester and just got out last week. I went to Germany on my spring break. I was a nurse for 19 years and now I want to be a graphic designer. I hate our medical sytem here. Nothing but lires and insensitive doctors. I am through!! Got to go. Keep in touch. Joanne

15.) Re: Tracy

May 24, 2000 at 18:21

I am so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I also am on Methadone for this knife like pain. I have a neuroma (nerve mass that formed in the suture sight ). I am much better now, since my last surgery and am down to only 2 to 3 pills a day (from 10 ) but there is a drug that helped me alot. It is called Neurontin. It sounds like you may have this also as it sounds like my pain. I urge to to try the Neurontin. It is an anti-seizure medication to stop the nerve from shaking. I used to have to sit for hours aftr a bowel movement. Neuromas are very rare and the only doctor to admit to ever seeing one is the one in Germany. It is worth a try. Joanne

16.) Vivian

May 24, 2000 at 18:35

I can't believe it! I have been serching for so long to find another person with a neuroma! It is the absolute worst thing on earth. I have had 2 surgries now to get it out. I was absolutely disfunctional for 5 months following my vaginal hysterectomy. I couldn't find anyone with experience with this thing. They tried to lie to me and tell me that it is all in my head. Nothing worked at all. Finally, I had a doctor go in with a scope to remove it and he totally messed up. He found millions of adhesions and tubes were left behind and stuck everywhere. So he removed the tubes, adhesions, and took a mass off the top of the vaginal wall where the nerve was stuck. After that I hemmorrhaged and had to have a laparotomy to stop the bleeding. Six weeks later the nerve pain came back, but this time it was tolerable with high doses of meds. I tried to sue but a neuroma is a risk of surgery and I could not find an expert witness. I lived on Methadone and Neurontin( a life saver) for 2 years unti >l my trip to Germany in March. It has been about 11 weeks now and the nerve is back again but only about a third of what it was. The adhesion are finally gone with the Intergel but the nerve pain is still there. I feel like a new person now as I can do so much more now. I hope that someday, I will become completely free of it. I will not be ready for any more surgeries for a few years. Please let me know what they are doing for you. Maybe you will get better care than I did. It is also called scar tissue. Keep in touch. Joanne

17.) Re: How long do I wait to have surgery, that is the question...

May 31, 2000 at 09:55

>Sherry, Why don't you go to another country where the intergel is available? I am living proof that it works well. No more pulling, cramping. NOTHING! Three months now and no sign of them returning. I can't understand why anyone would go into another surgery without it. I had massive bowel adhesions which attached all of my bowels to my abdominal wall. I went to Germay but I am sure there must be others. Good luch whatever you do but please consider it! Joanne

18.) Re: Lynn Brown

May 31, 2000 at 10:16

Hi Lynn, I just wanted you to know that I had surgery in Germany by the best. His name is Dr. Korell. You may also find someone in your country but be sure that they use the Intergel. It was a savior for me. Joanne

19.) Germany questions

June 02, 2000 at: 18:10

The curling iron can be bought there for about 7 dollars. It is a different system. Only towels to be brought, no linen. They change the bed every day. You take a taxi to the hospital for I think 6 dollars or the bus. The bus goes right to the hospital. I experimented on my 4th day post op and took the bus around town. You only need a passport, that is it. The cost for the food is exactly the same as here. There are even Pizza Huts and Burger King. There is a burger king right next to the hotel. The hotel gives a great buffet breakfast. Let me know if there are any more questions. Joanne

20.) Re: Welcome Marla

June 02, 2000 at: 18:18

Hi Marla, The same thing happened to me. I was so scared when I could feel them growing up to my rib cage. It happened to me in about 10 weeks and then it stopped growing. The longer I had them inside of me the harder they got slowing me down more and more every day. Now I am 3 months post op and cured. There is a cure and it is called Intergel. I went to Germany to get it but you may find it in any country but ours possibly. Do not give up hope. Joanne

21.) Re: Painful adhesions return...where to go from here?

June 02, 2000 at: 18:21

Barbara, There is a cure. It cost me 4,000 dollars. Do not go into surgery again without the intergel. I left the country but if you wait I am sure it will be approved soon here. Joanne

22.) Re: Welcome Marla

June 03, 2000 at: 11:29

Marla, I was told at UCLA by the "best" doctor that the trouble with the film is that it does not adhere to a wet surface so as soon as the surgeon closes you up it falls down as the area where the adhesions were cut is oozing. It is a waste of time. I think we need to start something big demanding the use of Intergel in our country! It is only a gel, not a drug. For God's sake. I am sure that it is due to the fact they we haven't made a big enough stink and as woman whe are not heard. I want to change this but I do not know how. Joanne

23.) Re: Welcome Marla

Mon, 5 Jun 2000 22:27:57 -0700

Thanks Karla, You are right. Perhaps it is both the surgeon and the Intergel that worked for me. I just can't see those whose life is so severely damaged and who have bowel obstructions go into surgery without it as we all know that every surgery causes more adhesions. It is a risk that I was willing to take but we are all different. By the way, Dr. Korell has used it for 5 years without infections and he does not give a 100 percent guarantee that the adhesions will not return. I had a 15% chance of getting them all back and I knew this. What I really want to say is, why aren't they trying harder to get this thing approved. If it were for cancer it would not take this long. Joanne

24.) Re: DR. Korell - Germany

Thu, 15 Jun 2000 19:38:19 -0700

Hi Deborah, I am the one who actually saw Dr. Korel and lives free of adhesion pain. I have written much and I am sure that Helen will send you the info that I have written so far. He is going to be one busy doctor. The best part is how affordable it is and what a treat it is not to be kicked out of the hospital before you are ready. I miss Germany and all the care that I received there. Good luck and if there are any more questions please write. Joanne

25.) new address for Joanne Butman/Thorpe

Tue, 20 Jun 2000 15:14:40 -0700

I would like to thank all of you that have taken the time to write prayers for people who are going through these surgeries. And also to Helen for organizing all of Dr. Korell's information for us. When he speaks of DM's he is talking of the german currency which you can pretty much cut in half when interpreting it into our currency. My cost for the surgeon was 1,200. I had overpaid him and just got my money back. I can't believe it was so little. Our dollar is very strong there right now. I also want to give you all my new e-mail address which is I go to school every morning now for 4 hours to complete my degree in Graphic design. I could have never done that before my surgery. Thanks again. Joanne

Enter keywords:
Returns per screen: Require all keywords: