Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 119–128

The acrophysis: a unifying concept for understanding enchondral bone growth and its disorders. II. Abnormal growth

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00256-003-0735-9

Cite this article as:
Oestreich, A.E. Skeletal Radiol (2004) 33: 119. doi:10.1007/s00256-003-0735-9


In order to discuss and illustrate the effects common to normal and abnormal enchondral bone at the physes and at all other growth plates of the developing child, the term “acrophysis” was proposed. Acrophyses include the growth plates of secondary growth centers including carpals and tarsals and apophyses, and the growth plates at the nonphyseal ends of small tubular bones. Abnormalities at acrophyseal sites are analogous to those at the physeal growth plates and their metaphyses. For example, changes relating to the zone of provisional calcification (ZPC) are often important to the demonstration of such similarities. Lead lines were an early example of the concept of analogy from abnormality due to physeal and to acrophyseal disturbance. The ZPC is a key factor in understanding patterns of rickets and its healing. Examples (including hypothyroidism, scurvy and other osteoporosis, Ollier disease, achondroplasia, and osteopetrosis, as well as the family of frostbite, Kashin-Beck disease, and rat bite fever) illustrate the acrophysis principle and in turn their manifestations are explained by that principle.


Bone growth Rickets Lead intoxication Dysplasia Epiphyses Carpal bones Kashin-Beck disease 

Copyright information

© ISS 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology # 5031Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA