Twins undergo second stage of US surgery

Katie and Emma take a rare night out from treatment during their stay in St Louis.

Katie and Emma take a rare night out from treatment during their stay in St Louis.

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Disabled Lancaster twins Katie and Emma Sutcliffe have this week undergone the second stage of pioneering surgery to help them walk.

The twins suffer from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and need wheelchairs to get around.

Thanks to £85,000 raised through their Twins Appeal, the 16-year-olds are currently undergoing surgery at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, USA, which will hopefully see them walk unaided for the first time.

They have already had the initial phase of treatment – selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) procedure, which involves cutting some of the sensory nerve fibres that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord, to reduce tightness in the muscles and make it easier to walk.

The treatment was followed by intensive physiotherapy.

And this week the girls have had keyhole surgery on their calves and ankles in a bid to lengthen their leg tendons.

They will remain in leg casts for four days to help the movement in their feet.

Their mum Caroline said: “I feel for them as they are just getting over their first op and it’s very tough for them.”

The twins are spending a month in America, as they need extensive daily physiotherapy following the surgery.

During physio, the girls have been learning to move their legs and hips as they walk with sticks.

Caroline added: “They have had some great physio sessions. I am so proud of them both.

“We have a long way to go, but this is an amazing start!”