Teenager Mia Pearce got the best Christmas present ever when surgeons at The James Cook University Hospital straightened up a curve in her spine.
The 13-year-old Grangefield Academy pupil is now adding a new wardrobe to her Christmas list after the procedure left her 8cm taller and no longer needing to hide her back with baggy clothes.
“It feels absolutely amazing – it’s like an early Christmas present!” said Mia. “I’ve got a party in January and I can’t wait to find something nice to wear!”
The Stockton teenager sought medical advice after developing uneven hips and a small lump in her back. X-rays revealed a bad curve in her spine which had caused it to move 5cm to the right. Mia was diagnosed with scoliosis and told she would need to undergo corrective surgery.
Cheryl Honeyman, specialist nurse for scoliosis and paediatric spine said: “Mia came to the clinic extremely worried about the prospect of major spinal surgery. Unfortunately her spinal curve was already over 100 degrees and becoming rigid, so she needed surgery as soon as possible.
“Mia and her Mum spent several hours with me before surgery. During that time Mia met another patient on the ward who had recently had surgery and this proved extremely reassuring for her. She coped brilliantly and we are all delighted with the result.”
Mia’s mum Vikki said: “The transformation is absolutely amazing. It’s life changing. It’s totally changed her confidence.”
Dad Jason added: “We’ve shown the x-ray images to friends and family and everyone has been absolutely amazed at the difference. This has made our Christmas. It’s the best present we could have had.”
Consultant spine surgeons Raman Kalyan and Mr Waleed Hekal performed the specialised procedure. Mr Kalyan said: “Mia is a very brave girl and she sailed through this journey in a fantastic manner. We thank Mia’s parents for the great faith they had in our team.
“We have some of the best results in the world for these very complex surgical procedures in terms of clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and the lowest level of associated risk. Team work, dedication and excellent quality service are key to our success.”
- Scoliosis can develop at any age, but is most common in children aged 10 to 15 years.
- In the UK, around three or four in every 1,000 children need treatment for scoliosis.
- Around 25 scoliosis operations are carried out at The James Cook University Hospital each year
- Typical signs include:
- a visibly curved spine
- one shoulder being higher than the other
- one shoulder or hip being more prominent than the other
- clothes not hanging properly
- a prominent ribcage
- a difference in leg lengths