ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal neurofibromas. Coloured sagittal (side) MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan through the neck and upper back of a patient with spinal tumours (green patches, upper centre and lower right). The front of the body is at left, the brain is out of view at top centre. The spinal cord (purple) runs between the protective bones (vertebrae, blocks) of the backbone. This patient has Recklinghausen's disease, a type of neurofibromatosis, where benign nerve tumours develop from the fibrous coverings of nerves. These tumours are called neurofibromas. Neurofibromatosis is an inherited disorder. Large tumours may require surgical excision. MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields to scan the body.
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