SCOLIOSIS patient Megan Halvey Ryan's family have said they are feeling "sheer relief" after the teenager finally underwent long-awaited surgery.
Megan (13) had suffered pain for years as she awaited the life-changing operation to correct an abnormal curvature of her spine.
Her plight moved the nation when she appeared on RTE's Living On The List TV documentary, which told of how her family's hopes for the surgery were repeatedly dashed.
"It's a major relief," said Megan's dad, Nigel, speaking last night following the almost 10-hour procedure at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.
"We're all delighted. The oper- ation started at 8.50am and went on for several hours until 6.30pm."
He said Megan's mother, Sharon, was particularly relieved as she had been fighting publicly for the surgery for a long time.
"Sharon's exhausted tonight but happy," said Nigel.
"Megan is doing well in the intensive care unit. The doctor came to us and told us the operation went very well.
"It will be great that Megan's life can now begin to get back to normal."
Megan, from Dooradoyle, Co Limerick, had bravely revealed on the programme the full extent of the suffering she experienced.
This prompted Health Minister Simon Harris to promise speedy changes to the system.
Sharon said on Wednesday that she was delighted when she learned the operation would go ahead and that Megan "deserves a bit of luck".
She said the whole of Limerick would be lighting candles for her.
Sharon said the operation was moved back to March 23 because of an emergency that had a knock-on effect on Megan's original date.
The plucky schoolgirl was told of her surgery date on the same day she appeared on The Late Late Show.
Sharon believes that without her appearances on TV, Megan may have had to wait even longer.