Life-chang­ing op cor­rects Emiah’s spine

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - JES­SICA WAL­FORD jes­sica.wal­ford@waleson­line.co.uk

A TEENAGE girl has un­der­gone a life-chang­ing op­er­a­tion in Ger­many to cor­rect her spine – after £30,000 was raised.

Emiah El­lis, 14, of Brynna, was di­ag­nosed with sco­l­io­sis, a con­di­tion where the spine curves and twists, a few years ago.

But after the money was raised by fam­ily, friends and the lo­cal com­mu­nity, Emiah has been able to un­dergo the surgery and is now back at home re­cov­er­ing.

Mum Menna Gar­landEl­lis said the prob­lem started when Emiah, who has al­ways been very sporty, started get­ting hurt on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“Two years ago she was in a swimming squad and into athletics, do­ing a lot of train­ing, and ev­ery time she was com­ing home, she was com­plain­ing about a bad shoul­der think­ing she’d pulled a mus­cle,” Menna said.

“I took her to a physio, think­ing you can’t pull a mus­cle ev­ery time, there must be some­thing else go­ing on. The physio said if you look, her shoul­ders aren’t in align­ment and she had to be re­ferred to hospi­tal. They told us she had sco­l­io­sis of the spine.”

Emiah was then faced with a choice – have an op­er­a­tion that could po­ten­tially re­strict her move­ment or do noth­ing and stay in pain.

Emiah opted to have the life-chang­ing op­er­a­tion, where in­stead of rods be­ing placed in her back, and re­strict­ing her move­ment, she would have nuts and bolts.

She un­der­went ver­te­bral body teth­er­ing, also known as fu­sion­less surgery, which pre­serves flex­i­bil­ity and growth by not stiff­en­ing the spine.

But in or­der to have the op­er­a­tion she had to travel to Ger­many to see Dr Tro­bisch and his team at the Eifelk­linik clinic in Sim­merath, and that would in­volve paying £30,000.

As well as funds be­ing raised in the com­mu­nity, Per­sim­mon Homes also gave a do­na­tion of £1,000 as part of its Com­mu­nity Cham­pi­ons cam­paign, which sees up to £60,000 handed out to good causes across the UK each month.

Menna said: “We were go­ing down the route of hav­ing an op­er­a­tion where they put rods in your back but her curve is very low down, so they said it could af­fect her move­ment.

“In the mean­time, I saw a story of another young girl from Haver­ford­west on the news and I tracked her mother down and asked them what’s this op­er­a­tion all about? They went to Amer­ica, so we went to Philadel­phia first for a con­sul­ta­tion in a char­i­ty­funded hospi­tal but Emiah didn’t meet the cri­te­ria.

“We’d also just heard about this doc­tor who was un­der the same team in Amer­ica but had re­turned to live in Ger­many and he was set­ting up a prac­tice in Ger­many. So we went to see him and he told us that he thought he could do it, so she was booked in with him and had the op­er­a­tion on Au­gust 16.

“In­stead of us­ing rods, they don’t op­er­ate from the back, they op­er­ate from the sides and made two slits on her side, de­flated her lung and in­serted six screws placed on her spine and pull a thread through the nuts and bolts and when they pull it tighter, it pulls the spine in straight. But what that means is she can still bend, she’s still got her flex­i­bilty.”

Now Emiah is back at home and has stunned the doc­tors with her im­pres­sive re­cov­ery.

14-year-old Emiah El­lis from Pon­ty­clun had a life-sav­ing op­er­a­tion in Ger­many to fix the curve in her spine. She is pic­tured with Dr Tro­bisch. Right, X-rays taken be­fore and after the op­er­a­tion

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