|Illustration of a typical long bone showing the location of cancellous bone.|
|Light micrograph of cancellous bone showing its bony trabeculae (pink) and marrow tissue (blue).|
|Latin||substantia spongiosa ossium|
|Gray's||subject #18 86|
Cancellous bone, synonymous with trabecular bone or spongy bone, is one of two types of osseous tissue that form bones. Compared to compact bone (cortical bone), which is the other type of osseous tissue, it has a higher surface area but is less dense, softer, weaker, and less stiff. It typically occurs at the ends of long bones, proximal to joints and within the interior of vertebrae. Cancellous bone is highly vascular and frequently contains red bone marrow where hematopoiesis, the production of blood cells, occurs. The primary anatomical and functional unit of cancellous bone is the trabecula.
Its Latin name is substantia spongiosa or substantia spongiosa ossium. The words cancellous and trabecular refer to the tiny lattice-shaped spicules that form the tissue. It was first illustrated accurately in the engravings of Crisóstomo Martinez.
Cancellous bone has a greater surface area in comparison with cortical bone, and as a consequence cancellous bone is ideal for metabolic activity e.g. exchange of calcium ions.
In osteoporosis (specifically Type 1, aka post-menopausal), cancellous bone is more severely affected than cortical bone.
See also 
- Cortical bone, the other type of osseous tissue, which forms the hard outer layer of bone organs
- Netter, Frank H. (1987), Musculoskeletal system: anatomy, physiology, and metabolic disorders. Summit, New Jersey: Ciba-Geigy Corporation ISBN 0-914168-88-6
- BU Histology Learning System: 02601lba - "Cartilage and Bone and Bone Histogenesis: trabecular, woven and lamellar bone"
- "Fractal Analysis of Trabecular Bone". University of Washington. Retrieved October 2010.
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