ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scoliosis. Coloured X-ray of the spine of a 15- year-old girl with scoliosis of the lumbar (lower) spine. The spine (centre) is made up of vertebrae (blocks). The pelvis is at bottom. Scoliosis is a lateral (sideways) curvature of the spine. This condition usually starts in infancy or adolescence, and is most often seen in girls. Its cause is not known, although occasionally it may be due to a congenital abnormality of the vertebrae, polio or an injury. Treatment depends on the severity of the curvature. In mild cases none is needed, but others may require immobilisation of the spine or surgery to pin the vertebrae in a straight line.
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