THE Clady teenager who underwent vital spinal surgery in Turkey last year has continued to make good progress, following a return visit to Istanbul.
Rhianna Elliott and her family flew back to city recently for her second post-operation check-up, following the travel delay due to the coronavirus crisis.
At the Acibadem Hospital, Rhianna’s consultant, Dr Alannay said her recuperation is going as well as can be expected.
“We were to go over in May and with the lockdown we didn’t get,” Rhianna’s mum Fiona explained. “But they’re very happy with the way things are going.
“We have to keep going over for the next five years but for now, we don’t need to go back until April time. But there will be consultations on Zoom in-between.”
Rhianna’s condition, Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is a disorder whereby the spine matures abnormally, and curves excessively in one direction.
In the teenager’s case, this curving could have damaged organs by putting excessive pressure on them. Her rib cage was also pressing on her lungs which caused shortness of breath and if her spine had continued to grow unchecked, Rhianna’s other organs may have been affected.
“We’re taking it one year at a time,” mum Fiona continued. “It can go back at any time… but so far, so good.
“It (the surgery) has definitely made a good difference to her life. She’s back to doing her hobbies and her exercise. It is very satisfying see the results, which have been great.”
As this corrective operation was not available on the NHS, the family had to travel to Turkey to have it performed in Spring last year, with a cost of up to £45,000. A fundraising campaign was subsequently launched locally.
“It has been a (happy ending),” Fiona added. “It’s 14 months now since the operation and we couldn’t have asked for more.”