DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kyphosis. Abnormal spinal curvature in a standing teenage boy viewed from the side. This patient's spine shows excessive backward curvature at the level of the upper chest. Kyphosis can be caused by a variety of spinal disorders. In the young the most common causes are osteochondritis (inflamma- tion of bony tissue) and ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation of the joints between the spinal vertebrae). The condition produces a "hunchback" appearance that can cause considerable distress and social embarassment. Treatment, which is rare- ly successful, is of the underlying disorder, and may include physiotherapy, bracing and osteotomy (cutting and realigning bone).
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