DOROTHY YOUNG RIESS MD / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DOROTHY YOUNG RIESS MD / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal surgery. Orthopaedic surgeon (upper centre) using a heavy-duty set of bone forceps (a rongeur) to remove bone from the spine (a procedure known as a laminectomy). Here, the surgery is being carried out on the lumbar spine (the lower back). A laminectomy is carried out to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Such pressure on the lumbar spinal cord can cause severe stabbing pains in the legs. The pressure could be caused by a range of disorders, such as a herniated (slipped) disc, or spinal degeneration, as in arthritis. The surgeon at right is using a suction tube to remove blood and debris from the surgical wound, which is held open by retractors.
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