Vinko V. Dolenc

Vinko V. Dolenc Instead of usual biography about Vinko V. Dolenc : that he lectured and performed surgery all around the world,  he broke new frontiers in neurosurgery, is a legend in neurosurgery, that there is a “Dolenc technique” direct microsurgical repair of intra-cavernous vascular lesions named after him, he is genius and compared with Michael Jordan, Mozart, Stephen Hawking…, he is internationally well-known as a teaching neurosurgeon, that in the forward to his book – Anatomy and Surgery of the Cavernous Sinus – Yasargil wrote: “Dr. Dolenc now presents a pioneering work on the microanatomy and surgical compartments of this complex region. There is no doubt that this type of microsurgical anatomy study is a new step in the 100-year history of neurosurgery.” , that he delivered more then 500 lectures worldwide, as invited speaker he has actively participated at more then 200 international neurosurgical meetings, he performed life-surgery on patients with skull base pathology in more then 50 neurosurgical centers, he was amongst America’s Most Compassionate Doctors Patients’ Choice (2010)….I am glad to have the opportunity to publish more personal biography of Vinko V. Dolenc.

All of the above facts are just CV facts that don’t show his personality, which to me as his patient was also important.

So I will publish document which Vinko V. Dolenc gave it to me and it is a little bit more personal biography, more human, not just facts about him. The document was written by his friend Juha Hernesniemi (Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, University Central Hospital of Helsinki).

The White Tiger Eagle, Vinko V. Dolenc

He loves surgery. He quietly changes when entering the operation room: concentrated attitude but the good humour remains – “Don’t eat before surgery!” He is an athlete, handsome man. The heads of females are turning, and he enjoys it. The light flirt is changing rapidly to serious surgery. He becomes one with the microscope. This is the OR atmosphere – his life.

As a medical student in Zürich, I dreamed to become a neurosurgeon, and to be trained by Yasargil. I also dreamed that after Yasargil, I could go to see Drake in action, and after that to visit Vinko Dolenc. I did it all, eventually. I am very happy that it took time before I was able to visit Vinko, since with more experience I had eyes to see more. Already during my first visit, he was taking care of every detail. For example, he was kind enough to pick up people from the Ljubljana airport. Once in Ljubljana, I experienced for some reason somewhat impolite treatment in the hotel. Maybe I was tired and not polite enough myself. Whatever the reason, the attitude changed completely when the personnel became aware that I was a quest of Professor Vinko Dolenc. After that moment, I was one of the most important persons in the hotel, a real VIP, and I had wonderful time. Vinko was and is so well-known, just like Olivecrona in his time: second man to king! Most of all, however, it was something very special for me to be with Vinko in hectic ORs until late in the evenings, and to see such a many great operations during the visits to Ljubljana.

In the Man Booker Prize winner book, the White Tiger, a school inspector asks: ”In any jungle, what is the rarest of animals – the creature that comes along only once in a generation?” The answer of which is the white tiger. Seeing the geopolitical position and historical aspects of Slovenia, it demands enormous amounts of determination, dedication, wisdom, ambition and self-confidence to become a white tiger of neurosurgery. Many years ago the so-called Iron Curtain was a strong obstacle preventing very effectively the spreading of cultures, arts and science from west to east and vice versa. It could also have prevented white tigers’ escape, but a very peculiar species from Slovenia, the White Tiger Eagle Vinko Dolenc, flew over the Iron Curtain. In the beginning of his career, this young White Tiger Eagle, was able in a very impressive way to handle a microscope. Other neurosurgeons realized soon that the results of this young man were superior when treating vascular lesions and brain tumors, especially skull base tumors. He worked hard in some kind of isolation, and therefore he was able to develop new thoughts and techniques, without any disturbance by “more experienced” people around. In following years, Vinko positioned small country on the world map of neurosurgery, and Ljubljana became one of the few pilgrim places for young neurosurgeons that time. Vinko contributed to the microsurgical revolution in neurosurgery and kept his OR doors open for all visitors. He travelled around the world operating and sharing his experiences. It is not easy to fly high when you come from a small country like Slovenia, but somehow you have always flown high and free. That is why you, the White Tiger Eagle Vinko Dolenc, have become a cosmopolitan person and world-class hero.

 After numerous Vinko’s complementary visits to Helsinki, I asked my people – “How do you find Vinko?” Answers did not surprise me:  “Humorous, nice, laughing, great neurosurgeon, wonderful storyteller, lovable, etc.” This is the feedback from the Helsinki Team, which has seen so many different neurosurgeons coming all corners of the world. There are ten thousands of neurosurgeons in the world, indeed, and only few of them can say that they have truly contributed to neurosurgery. Professor Vinko Dolenc belongs to these few contributors, and I am proud to know him as a teacher and friend.

- Juha Hernesniemi, Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, University Central Hospital of Helsinki

Vinko V. Dolenc invited me to visit him, after I launched my website and sent him a link, explaining how my recovery was going for the last 2 months after he operated my pineal gland cyst. In email I said to Vinko V. Dolenc that I would like to publish a page or two about him and if he could send me his picture so I could publish it on my site. After one day Vinko V. Dolenc sent me an email to visit him in his office in UKC Ljubljana. His office is on the same floor as I was in recovery after the operation. He now works in Ljubljana only on Mondays and the rest he is performing surgery and lecturing around the world.

I visited him and we had a pleasant conversation about my recovery. Vinko V. Dolenc congratulated me on my website and on my personal project to help people find more information about pineal gland cyst and to share my pineal gland cyst experience with others who will come across the same path as I did. He also said that he liked my COJONES page in addition to the SYMPTOMS and RECOVERY page.


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