A TEENAGER has had life-changing surgery thanks to the tens of thousands of pounds raised by generous well-wishers.

Imogen Bridge, 14, has scoliosis which caused her spine to corkscrew.

The main curve was in the middle of her back and had a 53 degree curve, but that caused her spine to compensate by forming additional curves, one at the base of 24 degrees and a third near her neck, which formed a 38 degree curve.

The additional curves ensured that her head remained above her pelvis, but also caused her pelvis to become crooked.

In the UK she was only offered spinal fusion, which would have seen a long metal rod inserted into her spine to permanently straighten it, but as 'Midge' is hypermobile it would have impacted on her flexibility.

The family researched other options and found a leading surgeon in Turkey. Dr Ahmet Alanay offered a double vertebral body tethering (VBT) operation, this involved a flexible cord screwed to each vertebrae to bring them back into alignment, retaining her mobility.

Midge flew to Istanbul with her mother Melly earlier in November for an eight-day stay.

Melly said: “We stayed at the Malask Hilton Hotel and everyone was absolutely lovely. When it came to the operation, she had two hours in pre-op then a six-hour operation and an hour in recovery. It and was the longest nine hours of my life.

“When Dr Alanay came in and said she was ok I just burst into tears; it was such a relief. He ended up asking me if I needed help.”

The operation instantly led to the main curve in Midge’s back being straightened and the lower curve also went back into alignment.

The curve at the top of her spine reduced to 25 degrees and Melly is hoping follow-up x-rays will show that it has also reduced as Midge’s spine settles.

Midge said: “When I came round I was in a lot of pain in my shoulder and I still had a chest drain in.”

She was walking the day after the operation and was given physiotherapy exercises to help her maintain good posture.

Midge said: “The scars are becoming itchy, but I am sleeping better and now I can sleep on my side.”

One instant and visible improvement is that Midge’s shoulders are more in alignment so she no longer has to sew clothes to stop them falling off.

Melly said: “She is straighter and taller and she looks so much better. We are very grateful to everyone who donated to the appeal and enabled her operation to go ahead.”

Midge is now looking forward to roller skating in March, a trip to a theme park, and she will be enjoying a girlie day out with her mum to buy new clothes.