"She's come through it smiling" - Phoebe has successful spinal surgery

Despite undergoing gruelling 10-hour surgery to correct her scoliosis, this brave Tattershall youngster has never stopped smiling.

Phoebe Roberts, 9, was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus (a build up of fluid on the brain), and had her first surgery when she was just three days old and was not expected to even walk.

But walk she did by the time she was three years old, and also takes part in dancing lessons at Dance10 Dance Studio in Horncastle where she recently passed her Primary Ballet exam.

Last year, Phoebe was in desperate need of a new electric wheelchair as the manual wheelchair is difficult for her to use but as she was not eligible for one on the NHS, her family embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise the £8,500 needed to purchase Phoebe’s new electric wheelchair themselves, which they did in less than a month.

Phoebe Roberts recovering from her surgery. Photo: Rebecca Roberts

On Friday (September 30), Phoebe faced her biggest obstacle yet – a pioneering but risky 10-hour operation to help straighten her spine and re-align her ribs at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.The surgery came with risks, as it saw incisions made in Phoebe’s front to remove and then realign her ribs to correct the curve, but it is risky as this has never been done on anyone with this type of spina bifida before, and there was a chance it would leave her unable to walk.

But Phoebe came through the operation and her surgeons were very pleased with the results, which was trickier than they expected as Phoebe’s bones were stronger than they thought, and they have corrected half of Phoebe’s spine to allow the remainder of her spine to grow. She may also need further surgery on her legs at a later date, but this is yet to be decided.

Phoebe’s mum Rebecca said the 10-hour wait went quicker than expected, and they tried to keep their minds busy by reading and going for walks.

She said: “They monitored her in the ICU for a while, but they’re so pleased with her and themselves,” Rebecca said, “

Phoebe in hospital recovering. Photo: Rebecca Roberts

"She was amazing, she has to find a new centre of gravity now that her spine alignment has changed and she does still get tired easily, but as soon as her chest drain was out, she was desperate to get out of bed!”

Even better, as long as Phoebe’s physiotherapy continues to do as well as it has been, she will be going home today (Wednesday).

"Phoebe is just amazing,” Rebecca added, “She’s been smiling through everything and she’s been smashing her physiotherapy.”

Phoebe in hospital recovering from her surgery. Photo: Rebecca Roberts
Phoebe in hospital recovering from her surgery. Photo: Rebecca Roberts