SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal implant for pain relief, coloured frontal X-ray. This implant was positioned to block the pain caused by severe osteoarthritis. To treat the condition, some of the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae were joined together by plates and pins (black). An electrical stimulator (green, lower right) was then implanted, which connects to the spinal cord through the wire running up centre. The stimulator provides impulses that block the nerve signals of pain. Some stimulators contain controls that allow the patient to adjust the level of stimulation to the pain felt. In the case of severe back pain, such a device can restore mobility and quality of life.
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