Hannah, the young niece of photographer Julia Cybularz, is fitted for a back brace in this photo from Cybularz's "Breaking the Girl" project. For several years, Cybularz documented Hannah's struggle with idiopathic scoliosis.
Hannah's first portrait in a brace. Hoping to avoid surgery, she would wear one for 23 hours out of the day.
A close-up of Cybularz's spine. She, like Hannah, has scoliosis. But she refused to wear a brace as a child and never had surgery.
Hannah would have to get fitted for a new brace every nine months.
Hannah would keep the brace a secret from her classmates. "What does it feel like," Cybularz asked, "to go through puberty under this veil of secrecy by wearing a brace that hides you?"
Hannah holds an accordion-like corset.
Hannah would only take off the brace for an hour a day to take a bath.
Hannah takes a break from her brace.
In 2013, Hannah found out that the braces had failed to help her condition. Her only option was surgery. This is the incision from the procedure.
Hannah after her surgery. She had to miss six weeks of her first year of middle school.
A comparison of Hannah's X-rays before and after her surgery. Today, her back has healed beautifully and she's entering her first year of high school.