Melissa Gilbert, 56, celebrates her 'wildly successful' fourth spinal surgery

Melissa Gilbert was all smiles on Friday as she celebrated her ‘wildly successful’ spinal surgery.

The 56-year-old Little House On The Prairie star beamed in a photo posted to her Instagram that showed her recuperating in her hospital gown.

The actress had endured decades of severe back and neck pain, but she tried to delay surgery as long as possible to decrease her risk of coronavirus exposure.

Success! Melissa Gilbert, 56, gushed that her fourth spinal surgery was 'wildly successful' in an Instagram snap of her recuperating from Friday. She suffered years of back and neck pain

Success! Melissa Gilbert, 56, gushed that her fourth spinal surgery was ‘wildly successful’ in an Instagram snap of her recuperating from Friday. She suffered years of back and neck pain

‘Surgery was wildly successful!’ Gilbert gushed in her caption. 

‘Dr Bray was able to remove all the old hardware, shave off bone spurs causing numbness in my right hand and, and, and, he was able to give me the artificial disc!!!’ she added breathlessly.

‘So now I focus on recovery and remaining Covid free. Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. I send so much love back to you all. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!!! Leove and love and love…MG’

The former Screen Actors Guild president revealed earlier this week that she flew from New York to California to undergo her fourth spinal surgery in a detailed Instagram post about her ‘nearly constant’ pain.  

The 56-year-old Little House On The Prairie star previously endured her first neck fusion in 2001, a second one when she broke her back nine years later and again in 2016. 

Writing about her most recent operation, the actress explained that the ‘fusion had failed’ and the hardware was boring a hole into her C7 vertebra. 

Pushing through: Gilbert this week that she flew from New York to California to undergo her fourth spinal surgery in Instagram post about her 'nearly constant' pain; pictured in 2017

 Pushing through: Gilbert this week that she flew from New York to California to undergo her fourth spinal surgery in Instagram post about her ‘nearly constant’ pain; pictured in 2017

Major work: The actress was able to get an artificial disc inserted into her spine, and bone spurs causing numbness in one of her hands were removed; shown in 2017

Major work: The actress was able to get an artificial disc inserted into her spine, and bone spurs causing numbness in one of her hands were removed; shown in 2017

During a consultation with Doctor Robert S. Bray in April, she was told she needed  surgery ‘for an artificial disc instead of a fusion,’ which would spare her from having ‘to do more fusions down’ her spine in the future.

‘The catch was that I had about six months. Double catch, hello COVID-19,’ she wrote. ‘So I waited as long as possible. I’ve now reached the point where the pain is nearly constant and the fingers on my right hand are beginning to tingle.’ 

Gilbert explained: ‘So we scheduled my surgery for this Thursday. Yet another catch, Dr Bray is in California so this morning I am flying there and yet another catch, COVID-19 is worse than ever.’ 

Staying safe: During her cross-country flight, Gilbert said she wore a 'mask, glasses, gloves, shield' and was 'Clorox wiping every surface'

Staying safe: During her cross-country flight, Gilbert said she wore a ‘mask, glasses, gloves, shield’ and was ‘Clorox wiping every surface’

During her cross-country flight, the mother-of-two said she wore a ‘mask, glasses, gloves, shield’ and was ‘Clorox wiping every surface.’ 

While she won’t know if her surgeon will be able to give her the disc or have to re-fuse her neck, not getting coronavirus is her top priority.

‘My only job now is to stay free of this horrible virus so I can have my surgery,’ she noted.

Safety first: 'My only job now is to stay free of this horrible virus so I can have my surgery,' she wrote

 Safety first: ‘My only job now is to stay free of this horrible virus so I can have my surgery,’ she wrote

Her journey to Southern California hit a brief snag after her plane was diverted to Tulsa, Oklahoma due to a faulty fuel gauge. 

‘A little hullabaloo and a fuel stick later…I kid you not, measured with a stick-like thing, we are back on our way to SoCal,’ she captioned her second update on Monday. 

The next morning, she shared a snap of her stunning view in Newport Beach, which overlooked a dock full of boats as the sunset reflected on the glistening water. 

Putting her health first: Over the past few years, she has also opened up about getting her breast implants removed and 'no longer doing fillers or Botox'; seen in January

Putting her health first: Over the past few years, she has also opened up about getting her breast implants removed and ‘no longer doing fillers or Botox’; seen in January

Over the past few years, she has been open about getting her breast implants removed and ‘no longer doing fillers or Botox.’ 

‘I’m grateful to my body for holding up through some major health issues and serious injuries. Right now I’m physically pain-free and relatively healthy and strong,’ she told First For Women

The former child actress is married to Timothy Busfield and a mother to her 31-year-old son Dakota, who she shares with ex-husband Bo Brinkman and son Michael, 25, from her first marriage to Bruce Boxleitner. 

Child star: She starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder (left), the second oldest daughter of Charles Ingalls on the NBC series Little House On The Prairie from 1974 to 1984; on the right is Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls

Child star: She starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder (left), the second oldest daughter of Charles Ingalls on the NBC series Little House On The Prairie from 1974 to 1984; on the right is Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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