Bone Age


Article Author:
Surabhi Subramanian


Article Editor:
Vibhu Krishnan Viswanathan


Editors In Chief:
Chaddie Doerr


Managing Editors:
Avais Raja
Orawan Chaigasame
Carrie Smith
Abdul Waheed
Khalid Alsayouri
Trevor Nezwek
Radia Jamil
Patrick Le
Anoosh Zafar Gondal
Saad Nazir
William Gossman
Hassam Zulfiqar
Hussain Sajjad
Steve Bhimji
Muhammad Hashmi
John Shell
Matthew Varacallo
Heba Mahdy
Ahmad Malik
Sarosh Vaqar
Mark Pellegrini
James Hughes
Beata Beatty
Beenish Sohail
Nazia Sadiq
Hajira Basit
Phillip Hynes


Updated:
1/26/2019 9:16:45 PM

Introduction

1. Visualization by hand & wrist plain film radiographs: Standard posteroanterior (PA) view of the hand and wrist; Effective radiation received during each exposure is between 0.0001-0.1 mSV.[1] Typically, left-hand radiographs are utilized (as most individuals are right dominant and left hand has less chance of being deformed)

Techniques:

A. Greulich and Pyle (GP) atlas [2][3][4]: Based on "The Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist" by Dr. William Walter Greulich and Dr. Sarah Idell Pyle (1959). Includes reference standards of the left hand and left wrist until 18 years for females and 19 years for males. Advantage: Simpler and faster method; good reliability for Australian and Middle Eastern ethnicity. Disadvantage: Less reliable in Asians.

B. Tanner Whitehouse (TW2) Method [5]: Based on the level of maturity for 20 selected regions of interest (ROI) in specific bones of hand and wrist in each age population. The development level for each ROI is categorized into specific stages, and given a numerical score for each individual bone. A total maturity score is calculated by summing up all these scores, which then correlates with sex-specific bone age. Advantage: More accurate and more reproducible. Disadvantage: Comparatively more complex and more time-consuming.

C. Gilsanz and Ratibin (GR) Atlas [6][7]: Digital atlas prepared by Vincent Gilsanz and Osman Ratibin (2005). Includes age- and sex-specific artificial images of skeletal maturity after thoroughly analyzing size, shape, morphology, and density of ossification centers in healthy children (spaced at 6-monthly intervals between 2 and 6 years, and yearly intervals between 7 and 17 years). Advantage: More precise and better quality images, as compared with GP atlas. Disadvantage: Shows fairly similar results in previous studies, however, GR atlas has more outliers.  

D. Automated skeletal bone age assessment [8][9]: Digital radiographs of hand and wrist Xray - Undergoes several stages of processing:

  • Stage 1: Pre-processing: Image normalized to grayscale, background removed and re-oriented
  • Stage 2: Segmentation: Desired parts of image separated from the background
  • Stage 3: Analysis: Selected regions of interest analyzed for bone age by TW2 method or GP atlas

Recently developed software computes bone age by both GP and TW2 methods, which has demonstrated validity across different ethnicities. 

E. Capito-hamate planimetry [Choi et al. (2018)] [10]: Defined as the measurement of the sum of areas of the capitate and hamate. Can be assessed using plain radiographs.

2. Visualization by ultrasound (US) [11][12][13]: Specialized ultrasound device involving two transducers: one transmitted (ultrasonic waves of 750kHz Frequency) and one receiver. Includes 11 cycles directed at the epiphysis of distal radius and ulna and skeletal age is determined, based on demographics of subject and ultrasound results. Disadvantage: Still needs to be evaluated in multiethnic populations with large sample size.

3. Visualization by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) [14]: Hand and wrist MRI has been evaluated as an option for bone age estimation (GP and TW2 methods) (Urschler et al. 2016); nevertheless, this technique still needs further validation. 

4.  Visualization of elbow ossification [15]: Sauvegrain et al. (1962) developed a full 27-point scoring system for bone age assessment including the assessment of four growth centers (lateral condyle and epicondyle, trochlea, olecranon apophysis, and proximal radial epiphysis) on AP and lateral radiographs of the left elbow. This assessment modality involves relatively greater radiation exposure. The order of appearance and fusion of different ossification centers around the elbow and their correlation with chronological age has been described [16]: capitellum (0-1 year; 10-15 years), radial head (2-6 years; 12-16 years), medial epicondyle (2-8 years; 13 years), trochlea (5-11 years; 10-18 years), olecranon (6-11 years; 13-16 years) and lateral epicondyle (8-13 years; 12-16 years). Appearance and fusion for all these ossification centers (except capitellum and radial head) have been demonstrated to be earlier in girls than boys.

5. Visualization of humeral head ossification [17]: Li et al. (2018) had recently described the 5-staged humeral head ossification classification system:

  • Stage 1 includes an incompletely ossified lateral epiphysis
  • Stage 2 demonstrates increased ossification of the lateral epiphysis, with a lateral curved margin
  • Stages 3 to 5 demonstrate collinearity between lateral margin of epiphysis and metaphysis; in stage 3, the lateral half of the physis is open without obvious fusion, in stage 4, the lateral half of physis is partly fused, and in stage 5, the lateral half of physis is completely fused

It has been demonstrated that peak height velocity (PHV) correlates between stages 2 and 3.

6. Visualization of clavicle [18][19][20]: A secondary ossification center develops at the medial end of clavicle during adolescence and undergoes fusion at 22 years. Best bone to image for bone age assessment between 18 and 22 years of age. Conventional radiographs - not much use to assess; Conventional or Spiral CT - Concerns regarding radiation exposure; and MRI (3-Tesla versus 1.5 Tesla) - Can be a radiation-free option, however, further research to develop specific protocols needed.

7. Visualization of iliac bone [21][22]

A. By pelvic radiographs: Risser sign - Based on the ossification of iliac crest apophysis. However, not a reliable or commonly used technique.

B. Non-ionizing Imaging: Ultrasonography as a technique to assess bone age using iliac crest apophysis ossification - has also been considered. However, this technique still requires validation.

8. Visualization of femoral head [7]: Bone age can be calculated by assessing the depth of epiphyseal cartilage of femoral head, in contrast to visualizing bony epiphyseal femur. As the ossification process occurs, most of the cartilage undergoes replacement by bone and hyaline articular cartilage. Ultrasound assessment has been studied to evaluate femoral head ossification; however, the evidence is still unequivocal. 

9. Modified Oxford Score [23][24]: Described by Stasikelis et al. assessed bone age on the basis of three consecutive stages of maturation of triradiate cartilage (TRC), femoral epiphysis, greater trochanter, and lesser trochanter. The total score ranges from 16 to 26. There is a solid body of literature regarding the role of this technique in predicting the contralateral slip in patients with SCFE. Modified Oxford score of 16 to 18 corresponds to increased contralateral slips in SCFE and 19 to 21 corresponds to PHV.

10. Calcaneal apophyseal ossification [25]: Nicholson et al. (2016) described 5-staged bone age assessment based on calcaneal apophysis. Stage 0 - No ossification of apophysis

  • Stage 1 - Apophysis covers less than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 2 - Apophysis covers more than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 3 - Apophysis has extended fully over the plantar surface and continues to extend over the dorsal surface without evidence of fusion
  • Stage 4 - Fusion of the apophysis to metaphysis begins
  • Stage 5 - Fusion is complete

Calcaneal stages 0 to 2 corresponded to high chances of contralateral slip in SCFE and stage 3  corresponds closely to PHV

11. Visualization of cervical maturation [26]: Schelgl et al. (2017) described the role of EOS 2D/3D imaging in the assessment of bone age, based on cervical vertebral body morphologies (Hassel–Farman Bone Age Stages - initiation, acceleration, transition, deceleration, maturation and completion stages).

12. Visualization of Dental Maturity: Predominantly studies for forensic purposes. Mineralization of teeth is much less affected by nutritional or endocrine disorders than the skeletal system. 

Techniques:

A. Atlas method [27]: Based on atlas containing standard age-matched orthopantomographic images, developed by Scour et al. (1944) This was further modified by Moorrees et al. and Anderson et al., where they defined dentition stages of all teeth.

B. Scoring method [27][7]: Numerical method devised by Demirjian et al. (1973), involving maturity score of each tooth, based on the level of dentition. A total maturity score is calculated by adding individual maturity scores. It has been demonstrated to show good correlation with the GP method of bone age estimation.

Anatomy

 1. Visualization by hand & wrist plain film radiographs: Standard posteroanterior (PA) view of the hand and wrist; Effective radiation received during each exposure is between 0.0001-0.1 mSV.[1] Typically, left-hand radiographs are utilized (as most individuals are right dominant and left hand has less chance of being deformed)

Techniques:

A. Greulich and Pyle (GP) atlas [2][3][4]: Based on "The Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist" by Dr. William Walter Greulich and Dr. Sarah Idell Pyle (1959). Includes reference standards of the left hand and left wrist until 18 years for females and 19 years for males. Advantage: Simpler and faster method; good reliability for Australian and Middle Eastern ethnicity. Disadvantage: Less reliable in Asians.

B. Tanner Whitehouse (TW2) Method [5]: Based on the level of maturity for 20 selected regions of interest (ROI) in specific bones of hand and wrist in each age population. The development level for each ROI is categorized into specific stages, and given a numerical score for each individual bone. A total maturity score is calculated by summing up all these scores, which then correlates with sex-specific bone age. Advantage: More accurate and more reproducible. Disadvantage: Comparatively more complex and more time-consuming.

C. Gilsanz and Ratibin (GR) Atlas [6][7]: Digital atlas prepared by Vincent Gilsanz and Osman Ratibin (2005). Includes age- and sex-specific artificial images of skeletal maturity after thoroughly analyzing size, shape, morphology, and density of ossification centers in healthy children (spaced at 6-monthly intervals between 2 and 6 years, and yearly intervals between 7 and 17 years). Advantage: More precise and better quality images, as compared with GP atlas. Disadvantage: Shows fairly similar results in previous studies, however, GR atlas has more outliers.  

D. Automated skeletal bone age assessment [8][9]: Digital radiographs of hand and wrist Xray - Undergoes several stages of processing:

  • Stage 1: Pre-processing: Image normalized to grayscale, background removed and re-oriented
  • Stage 2: Segmentation: Desired parts of image separated from the background
  • Stage 3: Analysis: Selected regions of interest analyzed for bone age by TW2 method or GP atlas

Recently developed software computes bone age by both GP and TW2 methods, which has demonstrated validity across different ethnicities. 

E. Capito-hamate planimetry [Choi et al. (2018)] [10]: Defined as the measurement of the sum of areas of the capitate and hamate. Can be assessed using plain radiographs.

2. Visualization by ultrasound (US) [11][12][13]: Specialized ultrasound device involving two transducers: one transmitted (ultrasonic waves of 750kHz Frequency) and one receiver. Includes 11 cycles directed at the epiphysis of distal radius and ulna and skeletal age is determined, based on demographics of subject and ultrasound results. Disadvantage: Still needs to be evaluated in multiethnic populations with large sample size.

3. Visualization by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) [14]: Hand and wrist MRI has been evaluated as an option for bone age estimation (GP and TW2 methods) (Urschler et al. 2016); nevertheless, this technique still needs further validation. 

4.  Visualization of elbow ossification [15]: Sauvegrain et al. (1962) developed a full 27-point scoring system for bone age assessment including the assessment of four growth centers (lateral condyle and epicondyle, trochlea, olecranon apophysis, and proximal radial epiphysis) on AP and lateral radiographs of the left elbow. This assessment modality involves relatively greater radiation exposure. The order of appearance and fusion of different ossification centers around the elbow and their correlation with chronological age has been described [16]: capitellum (0-1 year; 10-15 years), radial head (2-6 years; 12-16 years), medial epicondyle (2-8 years; 13 years), trochlea (5-11 years; 10-18 years), olecranon (6-11 years; 13-16 years) and lateral epicondyle (8-13 years; 12-16 years). Appearance and fusion for all these ossification centers (except capitellum and radial head) have been demonstrated to be earlier in girls than boys.

5. Visualization of humeral head ossification [17]: Li et al. (2018) had recently described the 5-staged humeral head ossification classification system:

  • Stage 1 includes an incompletely ossified lateral epiphysis
  • Stage 2 demonstrates increased ossification of the lateral epiphysis, with a lateral curved margin
  • Stages 3 to 5 demonstrate collinearity between lateral margin of epiphysis and metaphysis; in stage 3, the lateral half of the physis is open without obvious fusion, in stage 4, the lateral half of physis is partly fused, and in stage 5, the lateral half of physis is completely fused

It has been demonstrated that peak height velocity (PHV) correlates between stages 2 and 3.

6. Visualization of clavicle [18][19][20]: A secondary ossification center develops at the medial end of clavicle during adolescence and undergoes fusion at 22 years. Best bone to image for bone age assessment between 18 and 22 years of age. Conventional radiographs - not much use to assess; Conventional or Spiral CT - Concerns regarding radiation exposure; and MRI (3-Tesla versus 1.5 Tesla) - Can be a radiation-free option, however, further research to develop specific protocols needed.

7. Visualization of iliac bone [21][22]

A. By pelvic radiographs: Risser sign - Based on the ossification of iliac crest apophysis. However, not a reliable or commonly used technique.

B. Non-ionizing Imaging: Ultrasonography as a technique to assess bone age using iliac crest apophysis ossification - has also been considered. However, this technique still requires validation.

8. Visualization of femoral head [7]: Bone age can be calculated by assessing the depth of epiphyseal cartilage of femoral head, in contrast to visualizing bony epiphyseal femur. As the ossification process occurs, most of the cartilage undergoes replacement by bone and hyaline articular cartilage. Ultrasound assessment has been studied to evaluate femoral head ossification; however, the evidence is still unequivocal. 

9. Modified Oxford Score [23][24]: Described by Stasikelis et al. assessed bone age on the basis of three consecutive stages of maturation of triradiate cartilage (TRC), femoral epiphysis, greater trochanter, and lesser trochanter. The total score ranges from 16 to 26. There is a solid body of literature regarding the role of this technique in predicting the contralateral slip in patients with SCFE. Modified Oxford score of 16 to 18 corresponds to increased contralateral slips in SCFE and 19 to 21 corresponds to PHV.

10. Calcaneal apophyseal ossification [25]: Nicholson et al. (2016) described 5-staged bone age assessment based on calcaneal apophysis. Stage 0 - No ossification of apophysis

  • Stage 1 - Apophysis covers less than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 2 - Apophysis covers more than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 3 - Apophysis has extended fully over the plantar surface and continues to extend over the dorsal surface without evidence of fusion
  • Stage 4 - Fusion of the apophysis to metaphysis begins
  • Stage 5 - Fusion is complete

Calcaneal stages 0 to 2 corresponded to high chances of contralateral slip in SCFE and stage 3  corresponds closely to PHV

11. Visualization of cervical maturation [26]: Schelgl et al. (2017) described the role of EOS 2D/3D imaging in the assessment of bone age, based on cervical vertebral body morphologies (Hassel–Farman Bone Age Stages - initiation, acceleration, transition, deceleration, maturation and completion stages).

12. Visualization of Dental Maturity: Predominantly studies for forensic purposes. Mineralization of teeth is much less affected by nutritional or endocrine disorders than the skeletal system. 

Techniques:

A. Atlas method [27]: Based on atlas containing standard age-matched orthopantomographic images, developed by Scour et al. (1944) This was further modified by Moorrees et al. and Anderson et al., where they defined dentition stages of all teeth.

B. Scoring method [27][7]: Numerical method devised by Demirjian et al. (1973), involving maturity score of each tooth, based on the level of dentition. A total maturity score is calculated by adding individual maturity scores. It has been demonstrated to show good correlation with the GP method of bone age estimation.

Indications

Bone age assessment is a requirement in the following:

  • Endocrine/metabolic/pediatric conditions [28][7][29]
    • Diagnosis and management of endocrine disorders 
    • Evaluation of metabolic growth disorders (tall/short stature)
    • Deceleration of maturity in various syndromic disorders; and
    • Assessment of treatment response in various developmental disorders
  • Bone malformations and skeletal dysplasias for medicolegal purposes in children and adults: estimation of chronological age when accurate birth records are not available, immigration and other lawsuits, competitive sports, etc.[30][31]
  • Computing the final height of normal, healthy children
  • Management of orthopedic conditions in children and adolescents
    • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)[24]
    • Management of early onset and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis[32]
    • Management of limb length discrepancies or limb deformities or physeal arrest[33] - To assess the predicted lower extremity LLD and timing of epiphysiodesis
  • Anthropology
  • Orthodontics and jaw orthopedics

Equipment

Traditional imaging modality for bone age assessment:

  • Plain radiographs; Disadvantage: radiation exposure, inadequate imaging for clavicle

Alternate modalities:

  • Modalities without radiation exposure risk: ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Modalities with 3-D imaging: computerized tomography (CT)

Technique

 1. Visualization by hand & wrist plain film radiographs: Standard posteroanterior (PA) view of the hand and wrist; Effective radiation received during each exposure is between 0.0001-0.1 mSV.[1] Typically, left-hand radiographs are utilized (as most individuals are right dominant and left hand has less chance of being deformed)

Techniques:

A. Greulich and Pyle (GP) atlas [2][3][4]: Based on "The Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist" by Dr. William Walter Greulich and Dr. Sarah Idell Pyle (1959). Includes reference standards of the left hand and left wrist until 18 years for females and 19 years for males. Advantage: Simpler and faster method; good reliability for Australian and Middle Eastern ethnicity. Disadvantage: Less reliable in Asians.

B. Tanner Whitehouse (TW2) Method [5]: Based on the level of maturity for 20 selected regions of interest (ROI) in specific bones of hand and wrist in each age population. The development level for each ROI is categorized into specific stages, and given a numerical score for each individual bone. A total maturity score is calculated by summing up all these scores, which then correlates with sex-specific bone age. Advantage: More accurate and more reproducible. Disadvantage: Comparatively more complex and more time-consuming.

C. Gilsanz and Ratibin (GR) Atlas [6][7]: Digital atlas prepared by Vincent Gilsanz and Osman Ratibin (2005). Includes age- and sex-specific artificial images of skeletal maturity after thoroughly analyzing size, shape, morphology, and density of ossification centers in healthy children (spaced at 6-monthly intervals between 2 and 6 years, and yearly intervals between 7 and 17 years). Advantage: More precise and better quality images, as compared with GP atlas. Disadvantage: Shows fairly similar results in previous studies, however, GR atlas has more outliers.  

D. Automated skeletal bone age assessment [8][9]: Digital radiographs of hand and wrist Xray - Undergoes several stages of processing:

  • Stage 1: Pre-processing: Image normalized to grayscale, background removed and re-oriented
  • Stage 2: Segmentation: Desired parts of image separated from the background
  • Stage 3: Analysis: Selected regions of interest analyzed for bone age by TW2 method or GP atlas

Recently developed software computes bone age by both GP and TW2 methods, which has demonstrated validity across different ethnicities. 

E. Capito-hamate planimetry [Choi et al. (2018)] [10]: Defined as the measurement of the sum of areas of the capitate and hamate. Can be assessed using plain radiographs.

2. Visualization by ultrasound (US) [11][12][13]: Specialized ultrasound device involving two transducers: one transmitted (ultrasonic waves of 750kHz Frequency) and one receiver. Includes 11 cycles directed at the epiphysis of distal radius and ulna and skeletal age is determined, based on demographics of subject and ultrasound results. Disadvantage: Still needs to be evaluated in multiethnic populations with large sample size.

3. Visualization by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) [14]: Hand and wrist MRI has been evaluated as an option for bone age estimation (GP and TW2 methods) (Urschler et al. 2016); nevertheless, this technique still needs further validation. 

4.  Visualization of elbow ossification [15]: Sauvegrain et al. (1962) developed a full 27-point scoring system for bone age assessment including the assessment of four growth centers (lateral condyle and epicondyle, trochlea, olecranon apophysis, and proximal radial epiphysis) on AP and lateral radiographs of the left elbow. This assessment modality involves relatively greater radiation exposure. The order of appearance and fusion of different ossification centers around the elbow and their correlation with chronological age has been described [16]: capitellum (0-1 year; 10-15 years), radial head (2-6 years; 12-16 years), medial epicondyle (2-8 years; 13 years), trochlea (5-11 years; 10-18 years), olecranon (6-11 years; 13-16 years) and lateral epicondyle (8-13 years; 12-16 years). Appearance and fusion for all these ossification centers (except capitellum and radial head) have been demonstrated to be earlier in girls than boys.

5. Visualization of humeral head ossification [17]: Li et al. (2018) had recently described the 5-staged humeral head ossification classification system:

  • Stage 1 includes an incompletely ossified lateral epiphysis
  • Stage 2 demonstrates increased ossification of the lateral epiphysis, with a lateral curved margin
  • Stages 3 to 5 demonstrate collinearity between lateral margin of epiphysis and metaphysis; in stage 3, the lateral half of the physis is open without obvious fusion, in stage 4, the lateral half of physis is partly fused, and in stage 5, the lateral half of physis is completely fused

It has been demonstrated that peak height velocity (PHV) correlates between stages 2 and 3.

6. Visualization of clavicle [18][19][20]: A secondary ossification center develops at the medial end of clavicle during adolescence and undergoes fusion at 22 years. Best bone to image for bone age assessment between 18 and 22 years of age. Conventional radiographs - not much use to assess; Conventional or Spiral CT - Concerns regarding radiation exposure; and MRI (3-Tesla versus 1.5 Tesla) - Can be a radiation-free option, however, further research to develop specific protocols needed.

7. Visualization of iliac bone [21][22]

A. By pelvic radiographs: Risser sign - Based on the ossification of iliac crest apophysis. However, not a reliable or commonly used technique.

B. Non-ionizing Imaging: Ultrasonography as a technique to assess bone age using iliac crest apophysis ossification - has also been considered. However, this technique still requires validation.

8. Visualization of femoral head [7]: Bone age can be calculated by assessing the depth of epiphyseal cartilage of femoral head, in contrast to visualizing bony epiphyseal femur. As the ossification process occurs, most of the cartilage undergoes replacement by bone and hyaline articular cartilage. Ultrasound assessment has been studied to evaluate femoral head ossification; however, the evidence is still unequivocal. 

9. Modified Oxford Score [23][24]: Described by Stasikelis et al. assessed bone age on the basis of three consecutive stages of maturation of triradiate cartilage (TRC), femoral epiphysis, greater trochanter, and lesser trochanter. The total score ranges from 16 to 26. There is a solid body of literature regarding the role of this technique in predicting the contralateral slip in patients with SCFE. Modified Oxford score of 16 to 18 corresponds to increased contralateral slips in SCFE and 19 to 21 corresponds to PHV.

10. Calcaneal apophyseal ossification [25]: Nicholson et al. (2016) described 5-staged bone age assessment based on calcaneal apophysis. Stage 0 - No ossification of apophysis

  • Stage 1 - Apophysis covers less than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 2 - Apophysis covers more than 50% of the metaphysis
  • Stage 3 - Apophysis has extended fully over the plantar surface and continues to extend over the dorsal surface without evidence of fusion
  • Stage 4 - Fusion of the apophysis to metaphysis begins
  • Stage 5 - Fusion is complete

Calcaneal stages 0 to 2 corresponded to high chances of contralateral slip in SCFE and stage 3  corresponds closely to PHV

11. Visualization of cervical maturation [26]: Schelgl et al. (2017) described the role of EOS 2D/3D imaging in the assessment of bone age, based on cervical vertebral body morphologies (Hassel–Farman Bone Age Stages - initiation, acceleration, transition, deceleration, maturation and completion stages).

12. Visualization of Dental Maturity: Predominantly studies for forensic purposes. Mineralization of teeth is much less affected by nutritional or endocrine disorders than the skeletal system. 

Techniques:

A. Atlas method [27]: Based on atlas containing standard age-matched orthopantomographic images, developed by Scour et al. (1944) This was further modified by Moorrees et al. and Anderson et al., where they defined dentition stages of all teeth.

B. Scoring method [27][7]: Numerical method devised by Demirjian et al. (1973), involving maturity score of each tooth, based on the level of dentition. A total maturity score is calculated by adding individual maturity scores. It has been demonstrated to show good correlation with the GP method of bone age estimation.

Clinical Significance

Bone age assessment: Best imaging - based on age:

  • Children less than 18 years:  Left hand and wrist radiograph
  • 18-22 years: Medial end of the clavicle (CT versus MRI); sexual, dental and hand maturity indicators are of not much use in this age group

Specific clinical significance of skeletal indicators in orthopedic surgery:

Scoliosis [34][32]: Early onset scoliosis (EOS) and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) management involve the understanding of a child's remaining growth and skeletal maturity. Pediatric spinal growth classifies into 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 - 0 to 5 years
  • Phase 2 - 5 to 10 years
  • Phase 3 is beyond 10 years

The most rapid growth happens during phases 1 and 3. Curve acceleration phase (CAP) is a time of rapid change in curve magnitude; and patterns of curve progression have been described as low, moderate, and rapid. Sanders et al.[[34] demonstrated a high correlation between TW2 method of skeletal maturation and CAP. Other maturity indicators related to CAP include Risser stage 0, triradiate closure, PHV, and stage-2 tanner sexual characteristics staging. Sanders et al.[35] developed a simplified bone age assessment and developed an 8-stage classification system for phalangeal maturity. Phalangeal capping (seen in stages 3 and 4) corresponded well with PHV. Although there is a potential role for cervical vertebral body maturation parameters in scoliosis management, the exact correlation with curve progression is still not clear. Modified Oxford score of 19 to 21 correlated well with PHV. Calcaneal ossification stage 3 and humeral ossification stage 2 to 3 also correlate well with PHV.

Limb length discrepancies [33]: Assessment of bone age is required to evaluate predicted lower extremity LLD and timing of epiphysiodesis in limb length discrepancies. Planning of surgical management of lower limb deformity (varus and valgus malalignment) also requires a precise assessment of skeletal age. Hand radiographs (GP method) can help us to predict the skeletal age and growth remaining.

SCFE: The modified Oxford bone age score (16-18) has been described as the best predictor of contralateral slipped capital femoral epiphysis in patients with unilateral SCFE.[36] Calcaneal apophysis (stages 0-2) has also been recently described to demonstrate a good correlation to contralateral slip.

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Bone age assessment can be of utmost importance in various complicated situations involving medical, surgical, forensic, and legal issues. Apart from the ability to assess the chronological age of a person, the evaluation of growth remaining in a person can be extremely beneficial to a clinician in different circumstances, as previously discussed. Although the role of hand X-ray in skeletal maturity estimation is well-known, evaluation of multiple other radiographs can be more beneficial in certain circumstances [e.g., Oxford hip score and calcaneal apophysis in slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)]. The evidence on this subject is still not extensive, and future research can pave the way for a better understanding of each of these skeletal assessment modalities. Future research can also help us with developing newer modalities, not involving significant radiation exposure for regular assessment of bone age in young children and adolescents. Also, more automated software to assess bone age can revolutionize this field substantially. 

The radiologist plays a vital role in the assessment of bone age. However, patient management also involves an extensive inter-professional team of specialists, including family physicians, endocrinologists, orthopedists, or forensic experts. Nurses are also a vital part of the treating team as they can help coordinate the long-term management of these children. 

 Level of Evidence - The majority of the studies - are based on Level V (or level IV) evidence. 


Interested in Participating?

We are looking for contributors to author, edit, and peer review our vast library of review articles and multiple choice questions. In as little as 2-3 hours you can make a significant contribution to your specialty. In return for a small amount of your time, you will receive free access to all content and you will be published as an author or editor in eBooks, apps, online CME/CE activities, and an online Learning Management System for students, teachers, and program directors that allows access to review materials in over 500 specialties.

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor

This is an academic project designed to provide inexpensive peer-reviewed Apps, eBooks, and very soon an online CME/CE system to help students identify weaknesses and improve knowledge. We would like you to consider being an author or editor. Please click here to learn more. Thank you for you for your interest, the StatPearls Publishing Editorial Team.

Bone Age - Questions

Take a quiz of the questions on this article.

Take Quiz
Which of the following skeletal x-rays is suitable for assessment of bone age?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
Which of the following radiographs is most often used in assessing bone age?

(Move Mouse on Image to Enlarge)
  • Image 23 Not availableImage 23 Not available
    Contributed by A. Gentili, M.D.
Attributed To: Contributed by A. Gentili, M.D.



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
What criterion is used in deciding whether a chondrocyte is young or old?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up

Bone Age - References

References

Terada Y,Kono S,Tamada D,Uchiumi T,Kose K,Miyagi R,Yamabe E,Yoshioka H, Skeletal age assessment in children using an open compact MRI system. Magnetic resonance in medicine. 2013 Jun;     [PubMed]
Utczas K,Muzsnai A,Cameron N,Zsakai A,Bodzsar EB, A comparison of skeletal maturity assessed by radiological and ultrasonic methods. American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council. 2017 Jul 8;     [PubMed]
Khan KM,Miller BS,Hoggard E,Somani A,Sarafoglou K, Application of ultrasound for bone age estimation in clinical practice. The Journal of pediatrics. 2009 Feb;     [PubMed]
Hermetet C,Saint-Martin P,Gambier A,Ribier L,Sautenet B,Rérolle C, Forensic age estimation using computed tomography of the medial clavicular epiphysis: a systematic review. International journal of legal medicine. 2018 Sep;     [PubMed]
Benito M,Muñoz A,Beltrán I,Labajo E,Perea B,Sánchez JA, Assessment of adulthood in the living Spanish population based on ossification of the medial clavicle epiphysis using ultrasound methods. Forensic science international. 2018 Mar;     [PubMed]
Cheung JPY,Luk KD, Managing the Pediatric Spine: Growth Assessment. Asian spine journal. 2017 Oct;     [PubMed]
Popejoy D,Emara K,Birch J, Prediction of contralateral slipped capital femoral epiphysis using the modified Oxford bone age score. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 2012 Apr-May;     [PubMed]
Manzoor Mughal A,Hassan N,Ahmed A, Bone age assessment methods: a critical review. Pakistan journal of medical sciences. 2014 Jan;     [PubMed]
Choi JA,Kim YC,Min SJ,Khil EK, A simple method for bone age assessment: the capitohamate planimetry. European radiology. 2018 Jun;     [PubMed]
Nicholson AD,Huez CM,Sanders JO,Liu RW,Cooperman DR, Calcaneal Scoring as an Adjunct to Modified Oxford Hip Scores: Prediction of Contralateral Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 2016 Mar;     [PubMed]
Manzoor Mughal A,Hassan N,Ahmed A, The applicability of the Greulich     [PubMed]
Martin DD,Wit JM,Hochberg Z,Sävendahl L,van Rijn RR,Fricke O,Cameron N,Caliebe J,Hertel T,Kiepe D,Albertsson-Wikland K,Thodberg HH,Binder G,Ranke MB, The use of bone age in clinical practice - part 1. Hormone research in paediatrics. 2011;     [PubMed]
Ostojic SM, Prediction of adult height by Tanner-Whitehouse method in young Caucasian male athletes. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians. 2013 Apr;     [PubMed]
Schmidt S,Koch B,Schulz R,Reisinger W,Schmeling A, Studies in use of the Greulich-Pyle skeletal age method to assess criminal liability. Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan). 2008 Jul;     [PubMed]
Mills G,Nelson S, An improved spreadsheet for calculating limb length discrepancy and epiphysiodesis timing using the multiplier method. Journal of children's orthopaedics. 2016 Aug;     [PubMed]
Mettler FA Jr,Huda W,Yoshizumi TT,Mahesh M, Effective doses in radiology and diagnostic nuclear medicine: a catalog. Radiology. 2008 Jul;     [PubMed]
Lin NH,Ranjitkar S,Macdonald R,Hughes T,Taylor JA,Townsend GC, New growth references for assessment of stature and skeletal maturation in Australians. Australian orthodontic journal. 2006 May;     [PubMed]
Soudack M,Ben-Shlush A,Jacobson J,Raviv-Zilka L,Eshed I,Hamiel O, Bone age in the 21st century: is Greulich and Pyle's atlas accurate for Israeli children? Pediatric radiology. 2012 Mar;     [PubMed]
Büken B,Safak AA,Yazici B,Büken E,Mayda AS, Is the assessment of bone age by the Greulich-Pyle method reliable at forensic age estimation for Turkish children? Forensic science international. 2007 Dec 20;     [PubMed]
Kahleyss S,Hoepffner W,Keller E,Willgerodt H, [The determination of bone age by the Greulich-Pyle and Tanner-Whitehouse methods as a basis for the growth prognosis of tall-stature girls]. Padiatrie und Grenzgebiete. 1990;     [PubMed]
Kaplowitz P,Srinivasan S,He J,McCarter R,Hayeri MR,Sze R, Comparison of bone age readings by pediatric endocrinologists and pediatric radiologists using two bone age atlases. Pediatric radiology. 2011 Jun;     [PubMed]
Thodberg HH, Clinical review: An automated method for determination of bone age. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2009 Jul;     [PubMed]
Thodberg HH,Sävendahl L, Validation and reference values of automated bone age determination for four ethnicities. Academic radiology. 2010 Nov;     [PubMed]
Mentzel HJ,Vilser C,Eulenstein M,Schwartz T,Vogt S,Böttcher J,Yaniv I,Tsoref L,Kauf E,Kaiser WA, Assessment of skeletal age at the wrist in children with a new ultrasound device. Pediatric radiology. 2005 Apr;     [PubMed]
Willems G, A review of the most commonly used dental age estimation techniques. The Journal of forensic odonto-stomatology. 2001 Jun;     [PubMed]
Schmidt S,Schmeling A,Zwiesigk P,Pfeiffer H,Schulz R, Sonographic evaluation of apophyseal ossification of the iliac crest in forensic age diagnostics in living individuals. International journal of legal medicine. 2011 Mar;     [PubMed]
Lottering N,Alston-Knox CL,MacGregor DM,Izatt MT,Grant CA,Adam CJ,Gregory LS, Apophyseal Ossification of the Iliac Crest in Forensic Age Estimation: Computed Tomography Standards for Modern Australian Subadults. Journal of forensic sciences. 2017 Mar;     [PubMed]
Sanders JO,Browne RH,McConnell SJ,Margraf SA,Cooney TE,Finegold DN, Maturity assessment and curve progression in girls with idiopathic scoliosis. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume. 2007 Jan;     [PubMed]
Sanders JO,Khoury JG,Kishan S,Browne RH,Mooney JF 3rd,Arnold KD,McConnell SJ,Bauman JA,Finegold DN, Predicting scoliosis progression from skeletal maturity: a simplified classification during adolescence. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume. 2008 Mar;     [PubMed]
Canavese F,Charles YP,Dimeglio A, Skeletal age assessment from elbow radiographs. Review of the literature. La Chirurgia degli organi di movimento. 2008 May;     [PubMed]
Miyazaki CS,Maranho DA,Agnollitto PM,Nogueira-Barbosa MH, STUDY OF SECONDARY OSSIFICATION CENTERS OF THE ELBOW IN THE BRAZILIAN POPULATION. Acta ortopedica brasileira. 2017 Nov-Dec;     [PubMed]
Urschler M,Krauskopf A,Widek T,Sorantin E,Ehammer T,Borkenstein M,Yen K,Scheurer E, Applicability of Greulich-Pyle and Tanner-Whitehouse grading methods to MRI when assessing hand bone age in forensic age estimation: A pilot study. Forensic science international. 2016 Sep;     [PubMed]
Schlégl ÁT,O'Sullivan I,Varga P,Than P,Vermes C, Determination and correlation of lower limb anatomical parameters and bone age during skeletal growth (based on 1005 cases). Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society. 2017 Jul;     [PubMed]
Stasikelis PJ,Sullivan CM,Phillips WA,Polard JA, Slipped capital femoral epiphysis. Prediction of contralateral involvement. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume. 1996 Aug;     [PubMed]
Li SQ,Nicholson AD,Cooperman DR,Liu RW, Applicability of the Calcaneal Apophysis Ossification Staging System to the Modern Pediatric Population. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 2019 Jan;     [PubMed]
Li DT,Cui JJ,DeVries S,Nicholson AD,Li E,Petit L,Kahan JB,Sanders JO,Liu RW,Cooperman DR,Smith BG, Humeral Head Ossification Predicts Peak Height Velocity Timing and Percentage of Growth Remaining in Children. Journal of pediatric orthopedics. 2018 Oct;     [PubMed]

Disclaimer

The intent of StatPearls is to provide practice questions and explanations to assist you in identifying and resolving knowledge deficits. These questions and explanations are not intended to be a source of the knowledge base of all of medicine, nor is it intended to be a board or certification review of CNS-Pediatric. The authors or editors do not warrant the information is complete or accurate. The reader is encouraged to verify each answer and explanation in several references. All drug indications and dosages should be verified before administration.

StatPearls offers the most comprehensive database of free multiple-choice questions with explanations and short review chapters ever developed. This system helps physicians, medical students, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals identify education deficits and learn new concepts. StatPearls is not a board or certification review system for CNS-Pediatric, it is a learning system that you can use to help improve your knowledge base of medicine for life-long learning. StatPearls will help you identify your weaknesses so that when you are ready to study for a board or certification exam in CNS-Pediatric, you will already be prepared.

Our content is updated continuously through a multi-step peer review process that will help you be prepared and review for a thorough knowledge of CNS-Pediatric. When it is time for the CNS-Pediatric board and certification exam, you will already be ready. Besides online study quizzes, we also publish our peer-reviewed content in eBooks and mobile Apps. We also offer inexpensive CME/CE, so our content can be used to attain education credits while you study CNS-Pediatric.