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Katrina Burgess, 17, was told by doctors she may never walk again after surviving a 70mph car crash with a broken neck and back, and a catalogue of other injuries. But after being put back together with 11 metal rods and enough pins and screws to send an airport security detector into overdrive, Katrina was signed up by a modeling agency.

Surgeons saved her life after her car left the M5 and crashed into a ditch as she travelled towards her home town of Weymouth, Dorset. She snapped her back, punctured both lungs and broke her neck, her pelvis, her left leg and several ribs. Surgeons at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset, said that without surgery to help the bones to fuse, her spinal injuries in particular could deteriorate, risking death.

Doctors inserted a rod from her hip to her knee in her left leg the day after she was admitted to hospital. It was secured inside with four titanium pins. The most risky operation came a week later. They sliced open her back and inserted six more horizontal rods up the length of her back to support her spine. A week after that, they inserted a titanium screw to the top of her spine to support the break in her fragile neck. Only a day after the last operation she was able to take her first steps.

Astonishingly, five months on from the crash, the teenager has recovered to the point where she no longer even needs painkillers.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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