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Anat Rec. 1997 Jun;248(2):205-13.

Stereological analysis of bone architecture in the pig zygomatic arch.

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Department of Orthodontics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-746, USA.



Stereological analysis of trabecular bone structure may reveal information about regional variations in stress distribution, especially in areas like the zygomatic arch in which those variations are difficult to assess mechanically. This study investigates regional differences in trabecular orientation, thickness, and density in the zygomatic and squamosal bones of pigs.


Zygomatic arches were serially sectioned frontally (n = 4), horizontally (n = 4), or parasagittally (n = 4), at a thickness of 0.8 mm. Sections were viewed under a stereomicroscope; video-images were digitized and analyzed with an automated program.


All regions were anisotropic. Predominant orientation of trabeculae differed between and within bones. Three main patterns were seen. Anteriorly, zygomatic trabeculae were mainly arranged vertically and anteroposteriorly (relative to the occlusal plane). Posteriorly, including the jaw joint region, the squamosal featured primarily mediolateral trabeculae. In the midsection of the arch, where the two bones overlap, the trabeculae displayed a predominantly anteroposterior orientation with a secondary mediolateral peak. Trabeculae were typically 0.3-0.4 mm wide and occupied 40-50% of the area of the sections with few regional variations.


Trabecular bone in the pig zygomatic arch is arranged orthogonally, relative to the occlusal plane. In conjunction with information from strain gauge recording, these data suggest that the zygomatic bone is bent in the parasagittal plane whereas the squamosal is bent out-of-plane. The mediolateral trabeculae in the posterior regions are consistent with a cantilever effect at the jaw joint.

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