Arthritic spine, X-ray

Arthritic spine, X-ray

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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Arthritic spine. X-ray of the spine of an 81 year old man with osteoarthritis. The front of the body is at left. The spaces between the vertebrae are reduced and two of the vertebrae (at upper and lower centre) have become compacted. Osteoarthritis damages the cartilage between the vertebrae, moving them close together. As the cartilage is worn away new bone grows, a process known as osteophytosis. This limits the flexibility and movement of the neck. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

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