Hartlepool boy Alfie Smith recovering in hospital after operation hailed a '˜success'
Battling Hartlepool youngster Alfie Smith is recovering after undergoing the first operation on his journey to being able to walk unaided.
The nine-year-old underwent selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) at Leeds General Hospital.
The surgery will kick-start the long journey for the popular schoolboy, who has cerebral palsy, to one day being able to walk unaided.
The operation has been made possible following fundraising efforts of people and businesses across the North East to secure the minimum £50,000 needed for the surgery to go ahead.
However, during the pre-op assessments it was discovered an operation will also be needed on his hamstrings.
A post on the Help Alfie Walk for the First Time Facebook page showed Alfie recovering in his hospital bed following the procedure.
The following message was posted alongside it, saying: “A huge sigh of relief!
“Alfie is out of theatre. The operation was a success.
“It was very straight forward, no problems and one of the easiest ones he’s done.
“He is feeling very groggy and exhausted.
“His body is extremely weak.
“Over the next few days Alfie will be bed bound as he has to lay flat.
“Mam was told to immediately feel his legs and wow what a difference.
“Miracles do happen. Tears of joy.
“Our little Alfie is so brave although he has told his mam off already but in years to come he will understand and appreciate it.”
Alfie has had to move to Leeds with his mum Annie Stalley for at least a month while he recovers from the surgery.
The procedure involved the youngster having his back cut open and tests carried out on the nerve fibres running from the muscles to the spinal cord to find which ones contribute most to the spasticity.
These are then divided to reduce stiffness and spasticity.
The operation took between five and six hours.
Alfie is now on the high dependency unit to recover before he is eventually released from hospital.
Messages of support for Alfie and his family have continued to flood in from well-wishers.
Writing on the campaign Facebook page, Abbie-leigh Raw wrote: “Well-done Alfie such a brave little boy.”
Clair Louise Bloor added: “I’m so happy for him.”
While Kathryn Allison said: “Brilliant news get well soon Alfie.”