The physes (singular: physis) or growth plates are found in bones that undergo endochondral ossification.

Radiographic features

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 .

Related pathology


Differential diagnosis

See also