Life-changing op corrects Emiah’s spine
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 eve- ry 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 opera- tion 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