A teenager has grown an incredible five inches overnight after an operation to straighten his spine.
Harvey Legge, 14, was suffering from scoliosis, or curvature of the spine – and the bend was so severe it was crushing his vital organs.
He was referred to a pediatrician at Sheffield Children’s hospital who said his case was so severe he would have to have surgery.
The operation saw him grow five inches overnight, taking him from 4’10? to 5’3?. His spine has gone from being at a 90 degree angle, to just a 20 degree angle.
His mother Claire Walker, 39, said: ‘It really is wonderful to see. He now stands as tall as me – he literally grew five inches overnight after the operation once surgeons had straightened out his spine.
‘To see the X-rays of his spine before and after the operation really is remarkable. The surgeons have done a wonderful job.’
Mrs Walker, from Holton Le Clay, Lincolnshire, said: ‘It was a shock when he was first diagnosed with it.
‘I’d noticed that his rib cage didn’t look level when he bent down, but I had no idea that it was anything as serious as scoliosis.
‘When I was told he would have to have surgery to correct it, I was devastated. But I knew that it was the only option for him.
‘The bend in his spine was so severe that it was crushing all his organs. His rib cage was banging on his hip and he used the other hip as a shelf to rest his arm. He couldn’t walk very far because he was so twisted.’
Doctors decided that because Harvey’s case was so severe, they couldn’t wait any longer to operate on him.
Mrs Walker said: ‘We knew that he was very young to have this operation and it was nerve-wracking, but there was no choice.
‘Two months previously we had been on holiday to Italy and while we were sat around the pool, people were watching Harvey with their jaws dropping open. He was very conscious about what he looked like, too.’
Doctors warned the couple that there was a risk of paralysis with the operation, but they knew it was Harvey’s only chance as he was being suffocated by his own spine.
The eight hour operation was carried out in November 2011 at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where doctors put titanium rods either side of his spine to straighten it.
But complications from the operation left surgeons fearing he was brain dead after he lost his entire body’s worth of blood and his brain shut down.
Mrs Walker said: ‘It was terrifying when he lost so much blood – we thought we were going to lose him. Harvey spent nine days recovering in hospital, and then a further three months recovering at home.
Mrs Walker added: ‘It was so amazing when he stood up and he was so much taller. He had always been the smallest in his class and now he is of average height which is great.
‘He can now do contact sports and he can run too. He won’t grow any more, but it is fantastic that he is now so much taller than he was.
Ashley Cole, the consultant spinal surgeon who performed Harvey’s operation said: ‘It was a huge success and Harvey has recovered fantastically well.
‘We had to do the surgery much sooner with Harvey than many other children because his condition was progressing at such a fast rate.’