Bone marrow is one of the largest organs in the body, after the osseous skeleton, skin, and body fat, and is present on nearly every magnetic resonance image obtained of the human body. Hematopoietic (red) marrow is present throughout the entire skeleton at birth, but over the ensuing two decades of life different regions of hematopoietic marrow convert to fatty (yellow) marrow. This conversion begins in the periphery of the skeleton and then symmetrically extends into the central skeleton (Fig. 1a). An additional, superimposed sequence of marrow conversion occurs in the long bones, starting in the diaphyses and progressing towards the metaphyses (particularly the distal metaphysis) (Fig. 1b). In the second decade of life, marrow in the long bones becomes predominantly fatty, except in the proximal metaphyses. In the late third decade, the marrow distribution reaches its mature state, with hematopoietic marrow occupying the axial skeleton (skull, spine, sternum, clavicles, scapulas, pelvis) as well as the proximal metaphyses of the humeri and femurs; later in life, even those regions gradually convert to fatty marrow.
KeywordsBone Marrow Edema Insufficiency Fracture Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Bone Bruise Fatty Marrow
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