She loved dancing, playing sport and appeared to be completely healthy. But this young girl nearly died after her spine started to curve like a snake.
Emily Crosby, 13, looked like she had a fin between her shoulders where her backbone stuck out.
The teenager’s vertebrae were curved at a 90 degree angle and twisted 50 degrees in the opposite direction further down – creating a giant ‘s’ shape.
Emily trains with her local dance academy
Before her operation, Emily's spine had a double curve (left). She underwent an 11 hour operation to fit a titanium rod to her spine (right)
Doctors were unsure what caused her scoliosis – or curvature of the spine – but said it was the worst case they had ever seen.
The condition developed in just half a year. Her parents originally thought it was being caused by an ill-fitting bra.
It was only when doctors examined her that they realised her life was at risk. They told Emily that if her spine curved any more it could puncture her lung.
Emily was saved by an 11-hour operation in which surgeons inserted a rod into her back to straighten it out.
Before the operation (left) Emily's ribs were crushing her lungs. Now (right) she has recovered sufficiently to take part in a netball tournament in Italy
Her mother Jackie, 45, said: ‘They had to pick me off the floor when they told me. It was awful.
‘We thought the doctor was showing us an X-ray of the worst-case scenario but it was actually my daughter’s spine on the screen.
‘I cried a lot. Emily is very fit and active so we never knew anything was wrong. She never felt any pain.
Emily Crosby (right, pictured with her mother, left) underwent an 11 hour operation to straighten her spine
‘When we got to the hospital and the doctor asked her to bend forward I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Her spine was sticking out like a shark’s fin.’
Mrs Crosby and her husband Glen, 45, a project manager, said Emily’s spine had been perfectly straight when they had gone on holiday together just six months earlier.
It was Emily’s dance teacher who realised her back was misaligned, as she had studied the condition on a physiotherapy course.
In June last year the schoolgirl, from Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, underwent a day of surgery at nearby James Cook University Hospital. She had a titanium rod inserted and fixed on to her spine with 18 screws.
At one point during the operation, surgeons were forced to stop when a machine monitoring Emily’s progress delivered a reading of paralysis. Thankfully it was a false alarm.
Her mother said: ‘I was so nervous when she went into theatre. It sounds awful to say, but one slip of the knife and she’s paralysed. That’s all it takes.’
Emily recovered rapidly from the surgery. Doctors were amazed to find she could do the splits just two weeks after the operation.
The teenager is now back to full fitness and enjoys dancing and playing sport.
She has finished a stint performing in a pantomime, trains with her local dance school and is even competing in a netball tournament in Italy at the end of the month. She also took part in a Boxing Day dip, raising £450 for the spinal unit to thank it for saving her life.
Mrs Crosby added: ‘We are so proud of her. Even though her operation was so serious, she was determined to show other children with the same condition that you can still be active and enjoy your life.’
Doctors are unable to explain why eight out of ten children develop scoliosis. It is not thought to be caused by posture, exercise or diet.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2285833/Scoliosis-Schoolgirl-worst-spinal-curvature-doctors-seen-splits-11-hour-operation.html#ixzz2MFovP3ro
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