JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spinal compression fracture. Labelled artwork of a sagittal section through the backbone showing a compression fracture (centre, red cracks) of the vertebral body of one of the vertebra (blocks of bone). Between each vertebra are discs of fibrocartilage (blue). The front of the spine is at right, with the spinous processes of the vertebrae (marking the rear of the spine) at left. Between the two is the spinal cord (white). A fragment of bone from the fractured vertebra is pressing on the spinal cord. This causes pain and in severe cases surgery and bone grafts or implants will be needed to repair the fracture and restore the structural integrity of the vertebral column.
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