Cramlington woman Mel Hartshorn to have second part of operation in Spain

Melanie Hartshorn is due to have surgery in Spain on Friday 10 February. Credit: Mel Hartshorn

A woman is set to have the second part of a life-saving operation to fuse her spine.

Melanie Hartshorn, who has been receiving treatment in Spain since October, is having the second part of the surgery she hopes will save her life.

The Northumberland woman, who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, said on social media the surgery was expected to be "long and complex".

Ms Hartshorn, who had the first part of an operation to secure her neck and spine in Barcelona last year, is expecting to remain in intensive care for at least the weekend.

She needed to have the surgery because joints inserted to fuse her neck and spine had become dangerously unstable, causing seizures, vomiting and pain.

She said the plan during Friday's operation is to fuse her spine above and below two broken screws, and remove one pressing into her oesophagus.

She said: "Hopefully it all runs smoothly and I can finally have a stable spine, one that isn’t dislocating constantly!

"Obviously it will be a slow recovery and the bones all need time to fuse solidly, so I’ll still be wearing my brace for stability and protection, until we know I’m all fused successfully and safe!"

She spent Christmas in an apartment in Spain where medical staff are on hand after being discharged from hospital, and initially felt "positive" abut 2023 - posting on Facebook that she hoped this would be the year she "got her life back".

She is continuing to raise money for the operation, which has meant spiralling costs due to the amount of time she has spent in hospital in Spain.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...