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Sunday, 16 April 2017
Denbighshire girl with 85-degree curve in spine grows two inches overnight after life-changing surgery
A youngster became a couple of inches taller overnight after having a major operation to make her stand straight.
Katy Cook was diagnosed “by chance” with scoliosis, a condition which causes the abnormal twisting and curvature of the spine, after her mum Andrea noticed one of her shoulder blades was severely protruding.
By the time the 12-year-old from Prestatyn was sent down to theatre more than a year later, her spine was curved by 85 degrees.
She needed two titanium rods and 20 screws to straighten her crooked back but, when she stepped out of bed two days after surgery, Katy was more than two inches taller.
Andrea said Katy’s diagnosis in January last year was a “pure fluke” as, while visiting a relative in hospital in Manchester, they asked a nurse to have a look at her shoulder.
The mum-of-three said: “I noticed Katy’s shoulder was sticking out quite a lot and she seemed to have the shape of a lung in her back.
“While we were visiting her nanny in hospital, I just happened to mention it to one of the nurses and asked if she could have a look.
“As soon as she saw it, she told us to go to A&E straight away.
Katy's X-rays before and after surgery
“The doctor there asked her to bend over and drop her head and all her spine came up on one side.
“They knew there and then that she had scoliosis and said she needed an urgent referral.”
The family had to wait months to be seen and even then Andrea said they had to “fight” for follow-up appointments to progress Katy’s treatment.
Meanwhile, the youngster’s spine was getting worse and she was in lots of pain until she was eventually referred to specialists at Gobowen, who transferred her to Alder Hey after an MRI scan.
“The specialists said an operation needed to be done within six months, because there was a risk her bones would start crushing her organs and her rib cage had already moved right around by then,” said Andrea.
“She had nothing on the left hand side of her back.
Katy Cook standing tall at home after the operation
“Two weeks before the operation, the curve was 81 degrees and progressing at two degrees a week.
“By the time she went down to surgery on March 11, it was 85 degrees, and she needed to have two titanium rods and 20 screws inserted into her spine.
“She was in hospital for six days but was up and about on the second day, as she was so determined to get out of bed.
“She’s so brave and hasn’t complained once. She’s been an absolute star.”
Katy’s spine could take up to a year to fuse but she should make a full recovery.
Andrea said: “It’s like scaffolding, and now all her muscles will have to do the work of dragging the rest of her body straight.
“She has to go back to hospital in three months so they can see how she’s getting on.
“It was heartbreaking watching her in front of the mirror looking at her crooked body and trying to correct herself but she couldn’t.
“If one more family can be spared all of this, then I’d be happy, as it’s so easy to find.”