'Bachelorette' Contestant Emergency Spinal Surgery

1/6/2012 10:40 AM PST

'Bachelorette' Contestant Kiptyn Locke Has Emergency Spinal Surgery

Kiptyn Locke -- a contestant on "The Bachelorette" who jumped to the show "Bachelor Pad" -- just underwent 4 1/2 hours of emergency surgery to repair severely ruptured discs in his neck ... that were perilously compressing against his spine.

Neck injuries are no joke ... but we're told Locke -- who is currently dating former "Bachelor" contestant Tenley Molzahn (left) -- is expected to make a full recovery. It's unclear how Kiptyn injured himself.

Tenley says, "There are definitely angels involved in this emergency."