Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 3–13 | Cite as

Ossification and pseudoepiphysis formation in the “nonepiphyseal” end of bones of the hands and feet

  • J. A. Ogden
  • T. M. Ganey
  • T. R. Light
  • R. J. Belsole
  • T. L. Greene


Metacarpals, metatarsals, and phalanges were studied to assess the developmental morphology of “secondary” ossification in the “nonepiphyseal” ends of these bones as well as the formation of the pseudoepiphysis as an epiphyseal ossification variant. Both direct ossification extension from the metaphysis into the epiphysis and pseudoepiphysis formation preceded, and continued to be more mature than, formation and expansion of the “classic” epiphyseal (secondary) ossification center at the opposite end of each specific bone. Direct metaphyseal to epiphyseal ossification usually started centrally and expanded hemispherically, replacing both physeal and epiphyseal cartilage simultaneously. In contrast, when remnants of “physis” were retained, while juxtaposed epiphyseal cartilage was replaced, a pseudoepiphysis formed. There were three basic patterns of pseudoepiphysis formation. First, a central osseous bridge extended from the metaphysis across the “physis” into the epiphysis and subsequently expanded to create a mushroom-like osseous structure. In the second pattern a peripheral osseous bridge formed, creating either an osseous ring or an eccentric bridge between the metaphysis and the epiphysis. In the third pattern, multiple bridging occurred. In each situation the associated remnant “physis” lacked typical cell columns and was incapable of significantly contributing to the postnatal longitudinal growth of the involved bone. Pseudoepiphyses were well formed by 4–5 years and coalesced with the rest of the bone months of years before skeletal maturation was attained at the opposite epiphyseal end, which ossified in the typical pattern (i.e., formation of a secondary center de novo completely within the cartilaginous epiphysis). This process may also affect the development and appearance of ossification within the longitudinal epiphyseal bracket (“delta phalanx”).

Key words

Epiphysis Epiphyseal ossifications Secondary ossification Pseudoepiphysis Bone bridging Longitudinal epiphyseal bracket “delta” phalanx 


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Copyright information

© International Skeletal Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Ogden
    • 1
  • T. M. Ganey
    • 1
  • T. R. Light
    • 1
  • R. J. Belsole
    • 2
  • T. L. Greene
    • 3
  1. 1.Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children (Tampa and Chicago Units)TampaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Florida Orthopaedic InstituteUSA

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