MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scoliosis of the spine. Coloured X-ray showing scoliosis, the sideways curvature of the spine (down centre), in a 65 year old woman. Here, the curvature is in the thoracic vertebrae of the chest at upper right. The lungs (dark) are on either side of the spine, with the shoulders at upper left and right. Scoliosis typically begins in childhood, progressing to an S-shaped spine by the time growth stops. The condition may result from a congenital abnormality of the spine or from one leg being shorter than the other. It may also be due to polio or arthritis. If necessary, treatment is with surgery or by immobilizing the spine in a brace.
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