Teenage model realises catwalk dream . . .

  1. after radical spinal surgery made her FIVE INCHES taller

    Last updated at 19:56pm on 10th February 2008

    Teenager Josie Chapman's dreams of stalking the catwalks came a step closer after she had radical surgery to straighten her deformed spine and won a place in a national modelling competition.

    Now the 16-year-old stands five inches taller and has beaten 5,000 other girls to win a coveted place in the final of the country-wide competition to become a beauty queen. Josie developed the condition scoliosis two years ago and it resulted in her developing a twisted, S-shaped spine.

    The problem was so severe that her rib cage touched her pelvis, leaving her hunched over in pain.
    But the pretty schoolgirl now boasts a perfect posture after she underwent a life-changing 10 hour operation to correct the severe curvature.
    Two titanium rods have been placed into her back to straighten her spine and she has had four ribs broken permanently to help flatten her back.
    After three months of painful recovery, blonde Josie now stands at 5ft 6ins and is on course to win a teenage modelling contest.
    Josie said: "My spine was in an S-shape with a twist in the middle that meant my hips touched my rib cage.
    "I walked with a hunch and it really hurt.
    "But fours days after the operation I was sat up straight in bed. It was a bit scary when I first stood up because I was a lot taller than I used to be. "I used to be five feet one inches and was shorter than my mum but when I stood up I towered over her."

    The surgery has left Josie unable to ever bend her back again but this means she will always walk with perfect posture.
    She said: "I hope to be a catwalk model and now I feel I have got the perfect stature."
    Josie, from Poole, Dorset, led a healthy life until she developed scoliosis at the age of 14.
    She believes the affliction arose from when she broke her leg and was left walking awkwardly afterwards.
    As well as being in pain, Josie also suffered bullying at school because of her stoop.
    She said: "I began to notice that my back wasn't straight. It started off as a slight curvature of the spine but after a couple of months it was at a 78 degree angle.
    "We saw one doctor after the next before we found the right one.
    "But I had to wait a year for the operation.
    "Although it was a massive operation and I knew I wouldn't be able to bend my back again I had no doubts about it."
    A surgeon at Southampton General Hospital bolted the two titanium rods to her twisted spine which straightened it almost immediately.
    Then, knowing of her desire to be a model, the doctor went on to break four ribs to flatten her back.
    Small springs have been inserted between the bones which will be broken permanently, although they are not painful to Josie.
    Because she is unable to bend down the schoolgirl cannot take part in a lot of sports anymore and is careful to avoid crowds as a bump could undo the good work.
    But the operation's incredible success has opened up a new world to the teenager as she is now through to the semi-finals of a national modelling competition.
    Josie has beaten 5,000 other girls and is down to the final 50 in the Teen Queen contest.
    Mum Diane said: "I'm so proud of her. She's been through everything but she never complains. She just gets on with it. "After all the bullying and name calling, you look at her now and think, how could anyone call her a name? She's absolutely gorgeous."


    I had the exact same condition and the exact same surgery. The only thing different is that my rods are made of steel.
  2. Josie Chapman before the surgery (left) and in one of her modelling photos (right)

    Josie's spine had twisted into an 'S' shape and doctors had to put metal rods in her back
    Josie Chapman.jpg X-Ray.jpg
  3. . . . . and it's not like she can NEVER bend her back. She just can't bend it that far backwards. And that shouldn't be a problem unless she's planning on doing yoga or ballet.

    The perfect stature part is true. I swear, it's like I have to WORK to slouch.
  4. Brave little girl. I wonder just how the scolliosis got so bad in such a short time? Of course, from 14 to 16 is a very formative couple of years and one does a great amount of growing during that time... she must have really favored the injured leg to get that bad.

    My lower spine had those same rods in it. Had I left them in, I'd still be walking now, but they didn't tell me ALL the dangers of removing them. I wish her luck!
  5. ouch! looks very painful :sad: very glad she went thru with it and came out OK tho! good luck to her and her career :smile:
  6. Maybe hers was such an extreme case they had to operate right away.

    When I had scoliosis, I had to wear a back brace until I stopped growing.

    After a year, the doctor noticed the brace didn't do anything and I had the surgery.
  7. Fantastic what advances in medicine can do...good on her for following her dream and letting nothing stand in her way I hope she does well.
  8. oh wow that curve is really bad. thats really cool. at first i thought some crazy girl just wanted to be taller and added on 5 inches to her spine and made her torso oddly long.
  9. ^^ me too... i was relieved to read (well....not relieved...but not sure what word to use) that it was a medical condition and not strictly vanity.

    I know that there are bone-lengthening surgeries people can do... I guess originally done to help with extreme dwarfism, although regular short people then began electing to do it cosmetically to add inches.
  10. on tfs someone asked if she could have surgery to make her taller. She was 5'5" and called herself short. I was like :wtf:
  11. wonderful news.

    Im sure she feels so much better standing up straight. a straight back is not only good for you when sitting, it can help improve your speech.

    thats why its not good to slouch!! she can wear heels with ease now.
  12. Yikes! well I'm glad everything turned out and she is self confidant and happy!
  13. Great story.
  14. Good for her! What a brave young woman to go through all of that, surely that surgery and recovery was far from pleasant.
  15. Caitlin, I had no idea, you always have the best attitude, how amazing! :smooch:

    I'm glad things worked out well for this young woman, that's such a neat story! Her mole is cute :smile: