ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal collapse treatment. Coloured side X-ray of the lumbar spine of a 56-year-old patient being treated for a collapsed spinal vertebra. The front of the spine is at right in this view from the side. Three spinal bones (vertebrae, square blocks) are seen here. The one at centre (the L2 vertebra) has been injected with an acrylic bone cement (dark blue) to prevent it from collapsing. This treatment is known as vertebroplasty, or cementoplasty. The collapse of a vertebra can be caused by conditions such as osteoporosis or bone cancer. In the case of bone cancer, cementoplasty also helps to relieve the severe pain caused by the cancer. The structure passing across the top right corner is one of the ribs.
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