The growth plate (physis) is responsible for enabling and regulating longitudinal growth of upper and lower limbs. This regulation occurs through interaction of the cells in the growth plate with systemic and locally produced factors. This complex interaction leads to precisely controlled changes in chondrocyte size, receptors, and matrix, which ultimately result in endochondral bone formation. With advances in cellular and molecular biology, our knowledge about these complex interactions has increased significantly over the past decade. Deficiency of any of the regulating factors or physeal injury during childhood can alter this well-orchestrated sequence of events and lead to abnormalities in growth. This review highlights the histology of the normal physis, including recent findings at the cellular and molecular levels, mechanics and mechanobiology of the growth plate, pathologies that can affect the physis, and treatment options, including interposition materials.
- Growth plate
- Physeal bar