What is a bone spicule?

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What is a bone spicule?
Regeneration of bone involves the formation of bone spicules. (xray of a broken leg bone image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

"Bone spicule" is a term found in osteology, in dental surgery and also in ophthalmology. It is most commonly used to define the bony matrix in the formation of new bone but is also used to describe a complication in dental surgery and a symptom of an eye disease.

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Formation

The formation of new bone begins with the development of a bony matrix made up of bone spicules. These spicules are made up of networks of thin fibres with calcified deposits interwoven throughout. The fibres calcify and enclose some osteoblasts (bone-making cells) and begin to form new bone spicules. This soon forms a network onto which more layers of bone are added, eventually giving rise to a finished bone.

Dental Bone Spicules

During dental extractions, small slivers of bone can be left behind. These are called bone spicules and will sometimes work themselves out. However, they can be extremely painful and may require further medical attention.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative disease of the retina that usually results in the eventual loss of vision. One of the symptoms of this hereditary disease is the black mottling of the retinal pigment epithelium with bone spicule shapes. When this happens it is called "bone spicule" pigmentation.

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