Life-changing operation straightens the spine of Burnley schoolgirl

Jessica Ingham relaxes after her operation and (inset) the hump created by her curved spine

X-rays show Jessica's spine before and after the operation

Jessica with mum Jenette, sister Olivia and dad Kevin

First published in Burnley Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A TEENAGER who was facing life in agony by a curve in her spine has made a remarkable recov- ery after life-changing surgery.

Jessica Ingham, 14, could not do things other girls could do such as running and jumping without excruciating pain.

But after major surgery to correct the S-shaped bend in her back, the Burnley schoolgirl was able to dance at a family party with hardly any pain for the first time.

Year 10 Blessed Trinity RC School pupil Jessica, of Olivant Street, was diagnosed with the hereditary condition in 2011 and had to wear a protective brace for 21 hours a day before her operation.

Jessica was unsure about undergoing surgery to fit two metal rods into her back to straighten her spinal column.

But after lengthy discussion with her parents, she decided to go ahead with the risky eight-hour operation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to correct the 53 per cent bend last September.

She is now preparing to sit her GCSE exams and is enjoying shopping for new clothes to show off her straight back.

She said: “Before I had the operation, I was terrified. I knew it had to be done and in the end it was not as bad as I thought.

“When I was going through it at the time, it was the worst thing, but I would now recommend that if anybody was in the same situation as me to get it corrected.

“There is a lot of danger in having an operation on your back, but it is a risk worth taking.

“It did hurt, and it was painful, but I was soon over it and the scar is nothing.”

Her mum Jenette, who had the same operation exactly 20 years before her daughter, said: “I used to look at her and my heart would break. She was perfect to me but I know how cruel the world can be. Now I look at how straight she is and I’m so thankful to Mr Lee Brakewell her surgeon. She can get on with the rest of her life now.”

Her dad Kevin, a self-employed window cleaner, said: “Jessica is back to school and getting on with her life pretty normally.

“She was back to school within four weeks, which was a lot quicker than we expected.

“She has got a really strong personality which is what I think has helped her recovery.

”She breezed through the operation. She was just brilliant. It is absolutely unbelievable how brave she was.”

Jessica suffered from a curvature of the spine known as scoliosis, which can cause severe disability, organ damage and, on rare occasions, death if left untreated.

It had been expected that her recovery would take between eight and nine weeks, however she was getting back on her feet within just four weeks.

She has been given a special pass to use the lift to get between classes and also has to be careful when doing sports in case she gets injured.

Kevin, 48, said: “She can pretty much do most things now. She can jump, run and dance.

“She could do them before, but she struggled and had pain.

“It was getting worse and worse all the time and it was not something that was going to get better. It was really looking bad.

“You could see it sticking out when she bent over and her ribs were starting to push out.”

There were doubts over whether Jessica would be able to have the operation as shortly before surgery, she was diagnosed with a factor 11 deficiency, which means her blood cannot clot properly.

But after more tests and special medication, the procedure was allowed to go ahead.

Jessica’s nine-year-old sister Olivia has now also been diagnosed with the condition and the family is waiting to see if she will also develop scoliosis.

Comments (3)

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11:47am Mon 4 Mar 13

mavrick says...

What a nice cheerful story for a change. I hope Jessica gets 100% fit soon, She is a brave girl well done.
What a nice cheerful story for a change. I hope Jessica gets 100% fit soon, She is a brave girl well done. mavrick
  • Score: 5

11:58am Mon 4 Mar 13

district01 says...

Pleased. Best of luck to all of the family!
Pleased. Best of luck to all of the family! district01
  • Score: 5

7:14pm Tue 5 Mar 13

glossopkid says...

Best of Luck.
Best of Luck. glossopkid
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

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