ANZ journal of surgery

New approach to the study of intraosseous vasculature.

PMID 22863274


The study of intraosseous vasculature has always been challenging due to the hard, calcified structure of bone. Techniques used to study intraosseous vasculature usually involve diaphanization with a Spalteholz technique, followed by X-ray imaging to display the radio contrast-injected blood vessels. These techniques produce results with fine detail when successfully executed. However, high failure rates and the extensive length of time required to perform these techniques are drawbacks. This paper describes a faster, alternative method for the study of intraosseous vasculature. Five embalmed and two fresh shoulder girdles were harvested from six cadavers. Cannulas were inserted into the origins of the anterior (ACHA) and posterior (PCHA) circumflex humeral arteries and injected with ink diluted in water or 6% hydrogen peroxide. The arteries and their branches were dissected until they entered their respective bony foraminae. A hammer, chisel, bone nibbler and mounted needles were used to follow the intraosseous course of these arteries and their branches. The intraosseous vasculature was seen in all specimens. The branches of the main nutrient artery to the proximal humerus were followed until they reached articular cartilage or crossed cortical bone again to enter the rotator cuff tendons. An innovative, new approach to the study of intraosseous vasculature with direct visualization of the intraosseous arteries of the proximal humerus is described.

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