A Chinese gymnast paralyzed after a fall at the Goodwill Games underwent seven hours of spinal surgery Saturday that doctors hope will help her regain mobility.
Sang Lan, 17, was in critical but stable condition after doctors fused two fractured and dislocated vertebrae in her neck."The operation was completed and successful," Nassau County Medical Center spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said. "The doctors accomplished what they wanted to accomplish."
The surgery began at about 8 a.m. EDT. Lotenberg said details of the operation would be discussed at a news conference Sunday.
Sang's parents, Sang Shisheng and Chen Xiufeng, arrived at Kennedy Airport Saturday night from their home in Ningbo, 740 miles south of Beijing. They were escorted out a side door at the airport, away from reporters and photographers.
Sang, the 1997 Chinese national vault champion, fell on her head Tuesday night during a training routine, injuring the vertebrae and leaving her unable to move her legs. It was unlikely she would walk again, doctors had said before the surgery.
In addition to the surgery, Sang is being treated with an experimental tissue-regenerating drug. Chinese authorities said they also would perform acupuncture on Sang to stimulate her nerves.