ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal collapse treatment. Coloured frontal X-ray of the lumbar spine of a 56-year-old patient being treated for a collapsed spinal vertebra. Three spinal bones (vertebrae, square blocks) are seen here, with the vertebral processes protruding on either side. The vertebra 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.
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