Last revised by Tom Foster on 4 Sep 2023

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).

From the Greek word phýsis for nature and phŷlon meaning race 1.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: physeal anatomy
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 2: bone terminology diagram
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.