A Review of the Epiphyseal Plate in Long Bones
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The human skeleton is a complex organ involved in movement, support, and protection. During a child’s adolescent years, this skeleton is rapidly growing. The epiphyseal plate, better known as the growth plate, is the mediator of longitudinal bone growth in long bones. The various layers of the epiphyseal plate function uniformly to facilitate growth, and a disturbance to any layer has the potential to cause growth cessation. The Salter-Harris classification system is used frequently to diagnose epiphyseal fractures according to the location of various separations. Modern technology has further improved this system by developing a comprehensive classification of pediatric long bong fractures as well as additional classifications to the Salter-Harris scheme. Youth sports, especially American football, are the leading cause of epiphyseal injuries, along with many other sports and recreational actives such as skate boarding and bicycling. Reasons for concern and possible countermeasures to prevent an epiphyseal injury are provided and suggested. The idea of developing a gene therapy to restore bone growth after cessation as well as surrounding damaged tissues due to injuries is the future of medical research with regards to the epiphyseal plate.