Thanks to life-changing spinal surgery, Mairead has returned to work

Date: 27 June 2024

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Over ten years ago, while Mairead Clabby, from Wirral, was beginning her career in the police force, she sustained a head injury which put her life on hold. Attempting to deal with her recovery with physiotherapy, Mairead knew there was something more going on.

She said: “My condition got so bad that I was beginning to lose sensation in my right arm. I tried to keep working, but I was dropping things and struggled with my balance towards the end of 2021. Eventually in 2022, my physiotherapist sent me for a scan, where they found four slipped discs in my neck and Chiari Malformation at the base of my skull.”

Mairead was referred to The Walton Centre shortly after this discovery for further treatment and intervention.

Mairead continued: “I was shocked at the discovery, but also realised this was why previous physiotherapy and other treatment wasn’t working. It had been a long time, so I was glad that something was now happening which could improve my quality of life.”

Mairead underwent an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) at The Walton Centre in January 2023, in a bid to relieve the nerve pain she was experiencing.

Last year, The Walton Centre performed 256 ACDF procedures. Consultant Neurosurgeon and Major Trauma Lead Mr Oluwaseun Sobowale said: “Broadly speaking, we offer this operation to patients who are experiencing spinal cord or nerve root compression.

“Cord Compression can lead to deteriorating fine motor skills, and after time this can affect balance, mobility, and potentially a loss of bladder function. Nerve compression can manifest in pain, tingling and numbness. So it really can have a huge impact on someone’s quality of life.

“The benefit of performing the ACDF procedure means stabilising the symptoms and potentially improving that pain or weakness a patient may have after an injury or degenerative disease.”

Mairead continued: “It was like a great big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Four months or so afterwards I began to feel a real shift back to the way I was before the injury. I became a lot more active and have so far lost the six and a half stone I put on since being injured. I still have some residual pain and other things, but I’m working through them with The Walton Centre. I’m confident I’ll be fighting fit in no time, so much so that I’ve returned to work this month!”

For more information on The Walton Centre’s many services, please visit our website  


Notes to editors

Further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the Communications Team at The Walton Centre on 0151 556 3397 or

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is the only hospital trust in the UK specialising in neurology, neurosurgery and pain services. Although the majority of patients come from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, for some specialist treatments of complex disorders we see patients from all parts of the country, referred by their GPs or other neurologists, neurosurgeons and pain clinicians.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. The independent regulator of all health and social care services in England published its rating on Friday 21 October 2016, following announced and unannounced inspection visits to the Trust in April 2016.

For more information please visit: or follow the Trust on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Lower Lane, Fazakerley, Liverpool L9 7LJ
0151 525 3611

  • Summary:

    Mairead underwent an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) at The Walton Centre in January 2023, in a bid to relieve the nerve pain she was experiencing.