SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal cord tumour. Coloured sagittal (side view) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan through the upper back of a patient with a spinal meningioma (brown mass, upper centre). The front of the body is at left. The spinal cord (brown) runs down the vertebral canal (white) inside the blocks of bone (vertebrae, brown) of the backbone. A meningioma is a benign tumour of the arachnoid mater, the central one of the three meninges membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. At this level (T1), just below the neck (top left), the tumour is compressing the spinal cord, causing pain and the threat of paralysis. It can be surgically removed.
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