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article imageLife-saving surgery repairs 5-year-old girl's spine with leg bone

By Sheetal Patel     Dec 8, 2012 in Science
Birmingham - Rosie Davies, a 5-year-old girl from Wallsall in the West Midlands, has had a pioneering surgery to repair a large gap in her spine using bone taken from her legs.
Rosie was born with a very rare disorder called spinal segmental dysgenesis. Five bones which made up part of her spine were missing, leaving a 10cm gap in her backbone. Her legs were also contorted up against her belly and she had very little sensation in them.
Due to missing bones in her spine, her upper body weight was unsupported and her inner organs were being crushed. She was slowly running out of space in her chest - and running out of time. Eventually the internal crush would have led to her organs failing, which would have killed her.
As reported, In her last scan before the operation there was evidence of her kidneys being crushed.
Rosie's legs were amputated from the knee down and a section of bone was taken to bridge the gap in her spine. Two metal rods were then bolted to the upper spine and the hips to provide extra support.
The surgery took 13 hours at Birmingham Children's Hospital. This type of operation has never been attempted in Europe before. The only similar procedure took place 10 years ago in New Zealand.
After the surgery there have been early signs of sensation returning to her legs, which means it may be possible for Rosie to one day walk with prosthetic legs.
Mr Guirish Solanki, consultant neurosurgeons, who operated on Rosie, said: "We are delighted with the results of this operation. This is only the second time in the world that a surgical team has attempted to fix the thoracic spine to the hip side bones for a condition as rare as Rosie's.”
Her dad Scott said: "Before she was basically a timebomb - we never knew how long it would take to go off, we never knew how long we actually had with her. Since having the op she has now had her life expectancy increased to that of a normal child."
Rosie's parents said she now had more confidence.
More about Spinal, leg bone, spinal dysgenesis