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corset,article of dress designed to support or modify the figure. Greek and Roman women sometimes wrapped broad bands about the body. In the Middle Ages a short, close-fitting, laced outer bodice or waist was worn. By the 16th cent. it had become a tight inner bodice, sometimes of leather, stiffened with whalebone, wooden splints, or steel; fashion demanded the slenderest possible waist in contrast with the enormous farthingales and stuffed breeches that were worn. Stays and tight lacing were made for both men and women from the 17th through the 19th cent., except for a brief period following the French Revolution. By 1900 the corset had become primarily a female garment, and it was gradually modified to conform to the natural lines of the body.
a broad belt that is worn tightly around the thorax and waist. It is an article of women’s clothing. In medicine, orthopedic corsets are used to correct curvature of the spine and spinal injuries. Corsets are meant to restrict movement of the spine, to relieve pressure on the spine, and to correct deformities. A corset can be stiff, semistiff, or soft and elastic. As a rule, corsets are made from a plaster cast taken from the patient; they are made out of leather, gelatin glue, aluminum, or fabric with metal or plastic bones.
The construction of the corset and the material from which it is made are determined by the location and character of the spinal injury. For injuries to the thoracic or cervical regions, the corsets are made with neck braces; corsets made for lumbar injuries only come up to the shoulder blades. For example, in cases of tuberculosis, stiff corsets are prescribed; for small spinal injuries, semistiff corsets; and for spinal curvatures, soft elastic corsets with busks made of plastic and flexible steel. A corset should be worn constantly only upon the advice of a physician.
V. L. ANDRIANOV and N. N. NEFED’EVA