Courtney’s standing tall after spine op

Courtney is pictured after her operation.
Courtney is pictured after her operation.

Forfar teenager Courtney Bernard has endured a six-hour operation to straighten her spine and correct a triple curvature caused by scoliosis.

Diagnosed with the condition when she was eight years old, Courtney had to wear a spinal brace for 20 hours every day for six years.

When she turned 14 her surgeon, Dr Thanos Tsrikos of the National Spinal Deformity Service based at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, suggest that Courtney stop wearing the brace to see if the curves continued to progress.

In January this year it was found that the curves in her spine were getting worse and the decision was made by Courtney and her parents to have surgery.

Her dad, Pierre, said that had the condition been allowed to continue it could eventually have left Courtney with severe curves that would have restricted her internal organs.

He added: “It was hoped that because she had been in a brace up to 14 it would have slowed it down, which it did, but once she came out of it there was a continual progression of about seven or eight per cent every few months.

“The best option was to do the surgery now rather than further down the line.”

Dr Tsrikos operated on Courtney’s spine earlier last month, inserting two titanium rods and 17 screws to straighten it and stop the scoliosis from progressing.

Just seven days later she was discharged from hospital - now 1.4cm taller - to continue her recuperation at home. A keen swimmer, she hopes to return to the pool some time within the next six months.

Pierre continued: “She’s doing really well. We’ve been back to the clinic and they’re delighted with her progress. She’ll be going back to school part-time soon and she’s really pleased with how things went but is looking forward to a little bit of normality after being at home.

“She’ll get regular check-ups for the next three years, progressing to six months then yearly checks.

She should hopefully be discharged after the three years.”