West Yorkshire boy with C-shaped spine makes miraculous recovery after having world first surgery

Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.
Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.
A brave boy who became the first person in the world to have pioneering surgery to correct his C-shaped spine has made an incredible recovery a year on - and even started karate.

Connor Demetriou, 10, suffered from a spinal curvature of 96 degrees which crushed his lungs and made it extremely difficult to breathe.

In January 2018, Connor was the first person globally to go under the knife for a ‘double-trolley’ operation where six rods were inserted into his spine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The surgery realigns the curvature and allows the rods to grow with him as he gets older.

Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.
Connor Demetriou, 10, has started karate after pioneering surgery.

Since the gruelling eight-hour procedure, courageous Connor - from Castleford - has made an incredible recovery and can now play with his friends, swim and climb better than ever before.

Video footage shows Connor conquering heights at Xscape in Castleford - a feat he would have struggled to achieve without the ground-breaking operation.

The procedure has reduced the curvature of his spine to 46 degrees and Connor even grew two inches due to the straightening of his back.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His mum Michaela Demetriou, 39, said the surgery changed her son’s life and has had a huge impact on his day-to-day activities.

Connor's spine after the surgery.Connor's spine after the surgery.
Connor's spine after the surgery.

Connor’s mental health has improved and he can play with his friends more easily than before the procedure due to the change in his breathing, his mum said.

She has spoken out at the start of ‘Scoliosis Month’ - designed to increase awareness of the condition.

Michaela, a childminder, said: “He has been doing karate and loves climbing at Xscape.

“He has been going in for exams and getting the top grades.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Connor recovering in Sheffield Children's HospitalConnor recovering in Sheffield Children's Hospital
Connor recovering in Sheffield Children's Hospital

“Connor can play with his friends now much easier, he used to get tired and slow down because of his breathing but he doesn't struggle as much.

“He would have been able to do a lot of the activities before but they were a lot more difficult, the surgery has changed everything.”

Connor was born a healthy baby but his parents soon started to notice symptoms and signs of scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Connor's spine before surgery.Connor's spine before surgery.
Connor's spine before surgery.

Connor’s condition was first spotted by his father Marios, 39, when he noticed he could not stand up straight in the bath as a toddler.

At just three-years-old, Connor was diagnosed with curvature of the spine and attended the hospital twice a year before he was finally given the ground-breaking procedure last year.

Connor was initially scheduled to undergo 'single' trolley surgery, which involves inserting just four rods into a patient's spine.

However, his consultant surgeon decided to perform a 'double trolley' procedure at the last minute at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Following a brilliant recovery from the surgery, Connor has competed in charity and sporting events with his friends and family.

He is likely to need surgery in the future but Michaela could not be prouder of her son’s incredible achievements.

She added: “He is mentally happier which is a huge thing.

“With Connor, it is how he felt about himself.

“The hospital in Sheffield listened to him, he could tell somebody was listening to him.

“That is a big thing for Connor.”

Speaking about the world-first surgery last year, Connor's consultant spinal surgeon Mr Lee Breakwell said: 'I was aiming to save his life in the long term and to help him live a normal, healthy life into middle-age, but to hear he's enjoying his childhood is a bonus for me.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

'We're constantly looking for ways to improve outcomes for our patients with scoliosis.

'This innovative surgery is another in the long line of groundbreaking work we are doing for the children and families we care for.'

National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place yearly in June with the goal of highlighting the growing need for education, early detection and awareness to the public about scoliosis and its prevalence within the community.

For more information visit: https://www.srs.org/patients-and-families/additional-scoliosis-resources/scoliosis-awareness-month