Brave Rosie, 5, has her legs AMPUTATED to fix her spine… and stop her internal organs from crushing her to death
Rosie was born with a gap in her spine that left her body lacking supportThe five-year-old's lower legs were also folded under her in rare disorderShe then had her lower legs amputed and the bone inserted into her spine

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UPDATED:

18:23 GMT, 10 December 2012

A girl whose organs were slowly being crushed under their own weight because of a spinal defect has been saved – after doctors amputated her legs and inserted the bones into her back.

Rosie Davies, five, was born with a massive gap in her spine, and her legs were folded up under the back of her thighs.

The missing segment meant Rosie's body did not have enough support and she may have died from organ failure.

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Rosie as a baby

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Rosie Davies, now faces a brighter future after surgeons amputated her lower legs and supported her reconstituted spine

Rosie Davies was born with a rare spinal condition (pictured left as a baby). She now faces a brighter future after surgeons amputated her lower legs and supported her reconstituted spine

Rosie's mother said the young girl had never considered herself to be disabled, and would always find away around obstacles

Rosie's mother said the young girl had never considered herself to be disabled, and would always find away around obstacles

But doctors at
Birmingham Children’s Hospital saved her life after coming up with a radical solution –
amputate her lower legs, which had very little feeling in them, and use the bone to forge the gap in her
spine.

Rosie, from Walsall in the
West Midlands, became the first child in the UK and only the second
person in the world to undergo the pioneering surgery last month and is
now recovering well.

Her mother, Mandy Collett, could not be more proud of her.

She said: 'Rosie has never considered herself as
disabled. She decides what she wants to do, and finds a way to do it,
overcoming any obstacle.

'She has always been very active enjoying dance,
sport and playing with others. She is an exceptionally bright young
girl who is above average academically.'

Rosie is the only person in the UK to have the
extremely rare spinal condition, spinal segmental dysgenesis of the
lumbar spine, where the lower segment of her spine is missing. Earlier attempts to straighten her legs had been unsuccessful, leading doctors to consider the risky surgery.

Rosie with big sister Mia. Her mother said she would one day like Mia to teach her how to walk

Rosie with big sister Mia. Her mother said she would one day like Mia to teach her how to walk

Rosie received a bone graft from one of her amputated legs. Metal scaffolding was then implanted to support the spine

Pioneering: Rosie received a bone graft from one of her amputated legs. Metal scaffolding was then implanted to support the spine

During the complex operation by a team of seven, Rosie’s lower legs were amputated where she
had little or no feeling, and bone was taken from one of her legs and
grafted to the base of her spine.

Two
15cm long rods were screwed in place – carefully avoiding the nerves –
to create a type of 'scaffolding' from the upper part of her spine down to
the hip bone. The operation took a grueling 13 hours.

Before the operation Rosie did have some feeling in her lower body. At eight months old
she was able to move herself around adopting a commando style crawl
suggesting that her spine and nerves were working after all.

Now, after the operation Rosie
already has more sensation in the upper part of her legs. It is a
huge development and opens up the possibility that Rosie may one day walk using prosthetic limbs.

Ms Collett said: 'The only thing that Rosie has been
unable to do is walk, which is her ultimate goal in life. After her
operation and with the correct support we’re confident now that she will
be able to find a way to do that – to some degree.

'She loves her older
sister Mia dearly, and has always aspired to be like her. She always
says she would like to walk like Mia one day and that Mia would teach
her.'

Mr Guirish Solanki, who was one of the three operating surgeons, said the team were very pleased with the results

Mr Guirish Solanki, who was one of the three operating surgeons, said the team were very pleased with the results

The family on the way home from a check-up at Birmingham Children's Hospital

The family on the way home from a check-up at Birmingham Children's Hospital. They are looking forward to their first worry-free Christmas

Both she and Rosie's father Scott, thanked staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

'I know from talking to the surgeons that
there were some very tough decisions that needed to be made as the
surgery progressed, and I am grateful for their ability to work through
difficult circumstances to give our daughter the best chance of reaching
her full potential,' Ms Collett said.

Consultant Neurosurgeon Mr Guirish
Solanki from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who was one of the three
surgeons to operate on Rosie, said: 'We
are delighted with the results of this operation. This is only the
second time in the world that a surgical team has attempted to fix the
thoracic spine to the hip side bones for a condition as rare as Rosie’s.

'This
case was very complicated as normally children with this condition do
not have a working spinal cord or nerves but Rosie did. So in carrying
out this procedure we had to be extremely careful not to damage her
nerves.'

VIDEO: Rosie had her legs amputated to stop her internal organs from crushing her

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