Anatomical hierarchy

General Anatomy > Bones; Skeletal system > Flat bone



Flat Bones.—Where the principal requirement is either extensive protection or the provision of broad surfaces for muscular attachment, the bones are expanded into broad, flat plates, as in the skull and the scapula. These bones are composed of two thin layers of compact tissue enclosing between them a variable quantity of cancellous tissue. In the cranial bones, the layers of compact tissue are familiarly known as the tables of the skull;the outer one is thick and tough; the inner is thin, dense, and brittle, and hence is termed thevitreous table. The intervening cancellous tissue is called the diploë, and this, in certain regions of the skull, becomes absorbed so as to leave spaces filled with air (air-sinuses) between the two tables. The flat bones are: the occipital, parietal, frontal, nasal, lacrimal, vomer, scapula, os coxæ (hip bone), sternum, ribs, and, according to some, the patella.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


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