Dreams of becoming professional dancer at risk for teenager with Scoliosis.

Report by ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

A Dorset teenagers' dream of becoming a professional dancer is at risk because she suffers from a rare spinal deformity.

Scoliosis causes curvature of the spine and the only treatment available in this country will limit Lacie Carter's flexibility.  The parents of the 14 -year-old from Bournemouth are putting all their hopes on a new procedure, which they hope will take place in Turkey next month.

Lacie Carter starred in many local performances and was considered good enough to have a career as a dancer. However, eighteen months ago Lacie was diagnosed with Scoliosis.

Lacie's x-ray shows a 50 degree curve in the lower part of her spine

This x-ray shows a 50 degree curve in the lower part of her spine. There is treatment on the NHS called spinal fusion, but it would limit her movement. 

Instead, Lacie's booked to have a procedure called Vertabral Body Tethering in Turkey next month, if the money can be raised in time. 

Lacie Carter

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side. It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15.

Signs of scoliosis include:

  • a visibly curved spine

  • leaning to 1 side

  • uneven shoulders

  • 1 shoulder or hip sticking out

  • the ribs sticking out on 1 side

  • clothes not fitting well

Some people with scoliosis may also have back pain. This is usually more common in adults with the condition.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Having the NHS fusion treatment would almost certainly mean the end of Lacie's dreams to be a dancer.  That's why the option in Turkey is so attractive. 

Where Lacies curves start very low down, we feel it's more important for her to have VBT than fusion because it's important for her to keep her mobility.

Laura-Lee Carter, mum

She'll still have full flexibility in her spine with the VBT. So going forward for her especially career wise later on maybe in a few years be more of a possibility for her.

Mitchell Carter, dad

16-year-old Lucy had the fusion operation in Southampton two years ago. 

The top x-ray images show how her arched back has been reduced. The pictures below show that her twisted spine is now straight. 

16-year-old Lucy had the fusion operation in Southampton two years ago. The x-rays show before and after the operation.

However, Lucy has lost some movement.  

Lucy Gamble, Scoliosis patient

Lucy's results support Lacies parents' desire for her to have the VBT procedure, but time is crucial. 

The operation must be carried out while Lacie is still growing.

A facebook page hopes to raise awareness of the issue because early diagnosis is vital to repair the damage, and for Lacie keep alive those hopes of a career as a dancer.