Spine injury bombshell for DWTS drop-out DOROTHY HAMMILL that may require dangerous surgery.

SKATING Olympic gold medal champ Dorothy Hamill is terrified that she’ll need back surgery to fix the problem that forced her to quit “Dancing with the Stars”!

The 56-year-old breast cancer survivor announced on the March 26 show that she was bowing out of the competition saying that continuing her grueling dance routines “could cause irreparable nerve damage.”

AFTER THE SHOW, the gutsy star told reporters that she had a synovial cyst in her lumbar spine.

“Dorothy is scared to death that she might need back surgery!” a source close to the gold medalist said. “Spinal surgery can be extremely dangerous, and comes with as many risks as it does rewards. It’s absolutely the last thing she wants.”

Hamill – who said she suffered lower back pain and numbness during rehearsals – most likely has a cyst on her spine that’s pressing on her nerves, causing numbness in her legs, said an expert.

“Dancing made the compression worse, adding more inflammation to an already inflamed area,” explained Dr. Bal Rajagopalan, a Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeon, who has not treated Hamill. “Continued compression could cause irreversible nerve damage, and she could have sustained a knee or ankle injury because of the weakness of her legs.

“The treatment will be to rest, avoid high-impact activities, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce the inflammation.

“If these treatments don’t work, she may require surgery to remove the cyst and alleviate the pressure.”

Hamill said: “My next big project is to get my back and spine better. With any luck, I’ll be able to skate again. And maybe even dance.”