Cortical bone

Cortical bone

Cross-section of a bone showing both cortical bone (at top center) and cancellous bone (at top right, as trabecular bone)
Latin substantia corticalis, substantia compacta
TA A02.0.00.002
FMA 24018

Anatomical terminology

Cortical bone, synonymous with compact bone, is one of the two types of osseous tissue that form bones. Cortical bone facilitates bone's main functions: to support the whole body, protect organs, provide levers for movement, and store and release chemical elements, mainly calcium. As its name implies, cortical bone forms the cortex, or outer shell, of most bones. Again, as its name implies, compact bone is much denser than cancellous bone, which is the other type of osseous tissue. Furthermore, it is harder, stronger and stiffer than cancellous bone. Cortical bone contributes about 80% of the weight of a human skeleton. The primary anatomical and functional unit of cortical bone is the osteon.

See also


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