Spinal fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery

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This image is part of the sequence Healthcare: Spinal fusion surgery

Credit: MIKE DEVLIN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Spinal fusion surgery. Surgical incision in the back of a patient affected by scoliosis (curvature of the spine) who has undergone spinal fusion. This image, taken 2 years after the initial operation, shows that the fused spine (white, centre) has curved again. The procedure grafted sections of bone, harvested from one of the patient's ribs, to the vertebrae (centre) so that when it healed they formed one solid bone mass. This causes the vertebral column to become rigid, holding it straight.

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