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The physes (singular: physis) or growth plates are found in bones that undergo endochondral ossification.
The physis appears as a radiolucent line in skeletally-immature patients located between the metaphysis and epiphysis. It contains zones of mesenchymal cells in various maturation stages (see physeal anatomy illustration).
As the metaphysis and epiphysis mature and fuse, the physis thins, disappears, and endochondral ossification ceases. A subchondral bone plate forms with horizontally-oriented trabeculae which appears as a radiopaque transverse fusion line (physeal scar).
History and etymology
From the Greek word phýsis for nature and phŷlon meaning race 1.
- rickets: failure of calcification leads to accumulation of cells in the hypertropic cell zone (maturation zone)
- growth recovery lines