MIKE DEVLIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIKE DEVLIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal fusion surgery. Rib being removed (harvested) from a patient who is to undergo spinal fusion. This patient is affected by scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Spinal fusion will graft sections of bone from this rib to the patient's vertebrae so that when it heals they form one solid bone mass. This causes the vertebral column to become rigid, holding it straight. The procedure prevents worsening of the curve at the expense of spinal movement.
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