Growth arrest lines

Growth arrest lines (also known as growth resumption lines or Harris lines) are alternating transverse rings of sclerosis at the metaphysis of a long bone.

The radiographic finding occurs from alternating cycles of osseous growth arrest and growth resumption. This appears to result from pathologic levels of stress during bone development (e.g. disease, malnutrition).

The phenomenon has been described as originating from "osteoblasts, deprived of a longitudinally oriented template of calcifIed cartilage matrix, [continuing] their activities on the horizontally disposed template produced by the undersurface of the epiphyseal cartilage" 2.

Some contend that the lines are not necessarily indicators of development stress, but may be a variation of normal 4.

Histology

Trabeculae immediately above and below a growth arrest line are normal, but the Harris line has three histological characteristics 3:

  • non-lamellar appearance on histology
  • a complete lack of osteocyte lacunae
  • presence of irregularly distributed tubular structures
  • radiopaque transverse line in the metaphyses of long bones

First described by Dr H Harris in 1927.

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Article information

rID: 37959
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Growth resumption lines
  • Growth recovery lines
  • Growth lines
  • Harris lines
  • Park lines

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Cases and figures

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    Left knee: dense ...
    Case 1: growth resumption lines
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    Case 2: growth resumption lines
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