Clinical-Medical Image - International Journal of Clinical & Medical Images (2019) Volume 6, Issue 5
Author(s): Norman Barker*
The human skeleton provides the framework upon which our organs and tissues are situated. Skeletal bone is not an inert and stony structure but actually a vital and dynamic organ that, in addition to its strength, provides our bodily stores of important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. This photograph illustrates the appearance of cancellous bone from the femur, the large bone that spans the pelvis to the knee. Cancellous bone, also called trabecular bone or spongy bone, is an elaborate network of slender bone spicules that are interconnected, leading to the resemblance to a delicate sponge. These spicules provide a huge surface area of bone that makes essential minerals available to the body, and provide the framework upon which bone marrow cells grow (not shown in this photograph). Cancellous bone also provides strength, although the majority of bone strength is from the thick outer layers of the bone that are not seen in this picture. Like other organ systems, the human skeleton is itself affected by many disease processes. One of these diseases is osteoporosis (Figure 1), among the most common causes of bone loss that leads to an increased risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis is most common in women after menopause but may also develop in men or in individuals with specific hormone disorders, chronic illnesses or long term use of glucocorticoids (steroids). Given its influence on the risk of fragility fracture, osteoporosis may significantly affect life expectancy and quality of life.