ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal bone protrusion. Coloured 3D CT (computed tomography) scan of the lumbar-sacral part of a 28-year old patient, seen from the left side of the spine. This abnormal region has an extra bone growth called a syndesmophyte. At the sides of the lower five vertebrae (spine segments) are the vertebral processes, short protrusions where the back muscles attach to the spine. The syndesmophyte projection is seen at upper left of the process on the third lumbar vertebra (fifth segment from top). Syndesmophytes can occur in various diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis, alkaptonuria and Crohn's disease. The upper three vertebrae's longer processes are ribs, and the pelvic bones are seen at bottom.
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