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 neurinoma or neurilemmoma (red, centre). The front of the body is at left. The spinal cord (dark green) runs down the vertebral canal (pale green) inside the blocks of bone (vertebrae, pink next to the neurinoma) of the backbone. A neurinoma is a benign slow- growing tumour of the nerve sheath. At this level (T1-2), just below the neck (upper left), the tumour is compressing the spinal cord, causing pain and threatening paralysis. It can be surgically removed.
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