John is fighting fit after operation on his spine

A FATHER-of-two from Leamington is enjoying his active lifestyle again after an unconventional operation to put a new disc in his spine.

Former gym instructor John Turpin was surprised when his surgeon told him he would be ‘going in through his stomach’.

But within days of the operation at BMI The Meriden Hospital, a private hospital in the grounds of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire in Wallsgrave, Mr Turpin was up and about with only a 5cm cut just below his belly button the only sign he had undergone surgery.

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Mr Turpin, an operations manager for a group of hotels, said: “It was amazing.

“I still can’t believe that I went from virtual agony to pain free in a single day. True, I had the slight discomfort of the incision in my front but my back was completely sorted – the relief was indescribable.”

Mr Turpin is now back in the gym and is also enjoying jet skiing and a range of other sports.

He said: “I can now do everything I could do before my disc went, which includes keeping up with my two young daughters as they put me through my paces.”

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The operation was carried out by consultant neuro and spinal surgeon Amjad Shad, who helped develop the new way of tackling damaged discs.

He explained how going in through the front to insert the artificial disc, which is about the size of two £2 coins with a small polyethylene ball between them, is easier for the surgeon and better for the patient.

Mr Shad said: “The discs in the spine face into the body. That means if you go in through the back you have to work around the spine in order to reach them. By going in through the abdominal wall you simply move the gut to one side and the discs are then looking straight at you.

“It’s a case of taking out the damaged disc and replacing it with an artificial one. That means there is no need to fuse the spine as you would do in a more traditional operation, meaning recovery is quicker and you are not closing the door on further treatment.”