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Melissa Gilbert to have fourth spinal fusion surgery

Actress Melissa Gilbert says she will undergo another

Actress Melissa Gilbert says she will undergo another surgery to repair part of her spine this Thursday. Credit: Getty Images for BAM / Lars Niki

Actress Melissa Gilbert is set to undergo her fourth spinal surgery Thursday.

The former "Little House on the Prairie" child star, 56, whose film "When We Last Spoke" was released last month, said in an Instagram post geotagged from Kennedy Airport Monday, "I found out late last year that [my third spinal] fusion had failed … and I would need another surgery." In April, her doctor said he "felt I was a good candidate for an artificial disc instead of a fusion. Saving me from having to do more fusions down my spine in the future." But she had to wait six months to have the surgery, she wrote, then with the COVID-19 pandemic wanted to hold off for longer.

"I've now reached the point where the pain is nearly constant and the fingers on my right hand are beginning to tingle." She's now had to fly to California for the operation, while "COVID-19 is worse than ever. So here I am, mask, glasses, gloves, shield, Clorox wiping every surface, ready to fly. I won't know until I wake up," she wrote, to learn if her surgeon "will have been able to give me the disc or will have had to re-fuse my neck. But that is a worry for another day."

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