ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scoliosis of the back, coloured X-ray. The grid lines help to diagnose the extent of the abnormal sideways curvature. This condition usually starts in childhood, progressing throughout the growth of the patient. The cause in most cases is unknown, although it may infrequently be due to a congenital abnormality of the vertebrae (spinal bones), polio or an injury. If left untreated, it can cause severe deformity. Treatments include immobilisation of the spine, or surgery to fuse the vertebrae together in a straight line.
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