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Teenager's PS42,000 op gamble is life-changing.

Byline: JESSICA WALFORD Reporter jessica.walford@walesonline.co.uk

Ateenager from Cardiff has seen the results of a PS42,000 lifechanging operation on her back - and she's grown 1.5in (38mm).

Erin Morgan-Ring, 14, was diagnosed with Scoliosis, a condition where the spine curves and twists, a few years ago.

After mum Ceri noticed something strange about her back when they were on holiday in the summer of 2016, the pair went to see medics.

She was eventually told she had scoliosis, with two curves in her spine - one at 64 degrees and one at 74 degrees - in an S shape.

It left the gymnast from Heath in Cardiff fearing she would have to give up sports altogether if she had surgery offered in the UK, which would see screws and rods holding her back in place.

But the teenager managed to find an alternative in Germany - called VBT - that would mean she could continue doing the things she loved.

Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT), also known as fusionless surgery, is offered by Dr Trobisch and his team at the Eifelklinik clinic in Simmerath, and it preserves flexibility and growth by not stiffening the spine.

The only snag was the PS42,000 price tag to get her there.

But after fundraising - by holding quiz nights, climbing Pen-y-Fan and a black tie dinner - the pair managed to raise PS20,000 to visit Dr Trobisch, and, on April 10, Erin underwent her sixand-a-half hour surgery.

Mum Ceri said: "It was a 10-hour journey from Cardiff to Simmerath where Eifelklinik St Brigida is. I drove and took the ferry from Dover to Dusseldorf.

"The night before surgery and we were in Erin's room. Neither of us slept very much as she and I were so frightened of what was going to happen the next morning during surgery.

"I think, after all the months of fundraising, we lost sight of why we were fundraising and the realisation of what was about to happen kicked in.

"Erin was so scared at one point I contemplated not going through with the operation.

"The morning of surgery Dr Trobisch came to talk to Erin and me about surgery. We told him we were both very scared and his compassion towards Erin was amazing. Within five minutes he'd completely calmed her down and I had complete confidence in him.

"I took her down for surgery with one of the nurses and, as she disappeared through the theatre doors, I broke down. Handing your frightened baby over to someone you hardly know is the most terrifying thing I have ever had to do in my life.

"It was such a long day. I found myself walking around the grounds in the pouring rain to take my mind off things."

Despite the intense surgery, the operation was more successful than anyone could have hoped.

"Dr Trobisch predicted getting the both curves 40-45 degrees, but in fact got the thoracic curve from 64 to 35 and the lumbar curve from 90 to 37," Ceri said. "He was extremely pleased.

"Erin has had a fantastic recovery and continues to recover very well. She was back in school part-time five weeks post-op, and she has lots of stretching and strengthening exercises to do, which is helping her.

"She's also grown one and a half inches almost straight away after surgery. "She is now back to normal, being the normal bubbly person she always is."

CAPTION(S):

<B X-rays show Erin's spine before and after the operation

Erin Morgan-Ring the night before surgery

<B Erin two weeks after the operation
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 4, 2018
Words:595
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