skeletal system

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pertaining to the skeleton.
skeletal system the body's framework of bones; there are 206 distinct bones in the body of an average adult human. (See anatomic Table of Bones in the Appendices and see Plates.) The bones give support and shape to the body, protect delicate internal organs, and provide sites of attachment for muscles to make motion possible. In addition, they store and help maintain the correct level of calcium, and the bone marrow manufactures blood cells. Called also skeleton.

Main Parts of the Skeleton. There are two main parts of the skeleton: the axial skeleton, including the bones of the head and trunk, and the appendicular skeleton, including the bones of the limbs. The axial skeleton has 80 bones and the appendicular skeleton has 126 bones.
Axial Skeleton. The axial skeleton includes the skull, the spine, and the ribs and sternum. The most important of these is the spine (called also the spinal or vertebral column), consisting of 26 separate bones. Twenty-four vertebrae have holes through them, which are lined up vertically to form a hollow tube called the spinal canal; the spinal cord runs through this canal and is protected by it.

The seven topmost vertebrae, in the neck, are the cervical vertebrae; they support the skull, which encloses and protects the brain and provides protection for the eyes, inner ears, and nasal passages. The skull includes the cranium, the facial bones, and the auditory ossicles. Of the 28 bones of the skull, only one, the mandible, is movable.

Below the cervical vertebrae are 12 thoracic vertebrae; attached to them are 12 pairs of ribs, one pair to a vertebra. The ribs curve around to the front of the body, where most attach directly to the sternum or are indirectly attached to it by means of cartilage. The two bottom pairs of ribs are unattached in front and are called floating ribs. Together, the thoracic vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum form a bony basket called the thoracic (or rib) cage, which prevents the chest wall from collapsing and protects the heart and the lungs. The remaining bones of the spine include five lumbar vertebrae, which support the small of the back, and the sacrum and coccyx. The axial skeleton also includes a single bone in the neck, the hyoid bone, to which muscles of the mouth are attached. This is the only bone of the body that does not join with another bone.
Appendicular Skeleton. The appendicular skeleton includes the shoulder girdle, bones of the upper limb, pelvic girdle, and bones of the lower limb. The shoulder girdle, from which the arms hang, consists of two clavicles and two scapulae; the scapulae are joined to the sternum.

The upper limb has three long bones. The uppermost bone is the humerus, whose upper (proximal) end fits into a socket in the shoulder girdle; its lower (distal) end is connected at the elbow to the ulna and radius, the two long bones of the forearm. Eight small bones, the carpals, compose the wrist. Five metacarpals form the palm of the hand, and the finger bones are made up of 14 phalanges in each hand.

At the lower end of the spine is the pelvic girdle; it, along with the last two bones of the spinal column (the sacrum and coccyx), forms the pelvis. This part of the skeleton encircles and protects the internal organs of the genitourinary system. In each side of the pelvis is the acetabulum, a socket into which a femur fits.

The bones of the lower limb are similar in construction to those of the upper limb but are heavier and stronger. The femur (thigh bone), which is the longest bone in the body, extends from the pelvis to the knee. The tibia and the fibula are long bones that extend from the knee to the ankle. On the knee is another single bone, the patella or kneecap. In each leg there are seven ankle bones, or tarsals; five foot bones, or metatarsals; and 14 toe bones, or phalanges.
Joints and Movement. Anywhere in the skeleton that two or more bones come together is known as a joint. The way these bones are joined determines whether they can move and how they move. The elbow, for example, is a hinge joint, which allows bending in only one direction. In contrast, both bending and rotary movements are possible in the hip joint, a ball-and-socket joint. Many joints, such as most of those in the skull, are rigid and permit no movement whatsoever.

The force needed to move the bones is provided by muscles, which are attached to the bones by tendons. A muscle typically spans a joint so that one end is attached by a tendon to one bone, and the other end to a second bone. Usually one bone serves as an anchor for the muscle, and the second bone is free to move. When the muscle contracts, it pulls the second bone. Actually, two sets of muscles that pull in opposite directions take part in any movement. When one set contracts, the opposing set relaxes.


1. a set or series of interconnected or interdependent parts or entities (objects, organs, or organisms) that act together in a common purpose or produce results impossible by action of one alone.
2. an organized set of principles or ideas. adj., adj systemat´ic, system´ic.

The parts of a system can be referred to as its elements or components; the environment of the system is defined as all of the factors that affect the system and are affected by it. A living system is capable of taking in matter, energy, and information from its environment (input), processing them in some way, and returning matter, energy, and information to its environment as output.

An open system is one in which there is an exchange of matter, energy, and information with the environment; in a closed system there is no such exchange. A living system cannot survive without this exchange, but in order to survive it must maintain pattern and organization in the midst of constant change. Control of self-regulation of an open system is achieved by dynamic interactions among its elements or components. The result of self-regulation is referred to as the steady state; that is, a state of equilibrium. homeostasis is an assemblage of organic regulations that act to maintain steady states of a living organism.

A system can be divided hierarchically into subsystems, which can be further subdivided into sub-subsystems and components. A system and its environment could be considered as a unified whole for purposes of study, or a subsystem could be studied as a system. For example, the collection of glands in the endocrine system can be thought of as a system, each endocrine gland could be viewed as a system, or even specific cells of a single gland could be studied as a system. It is also possible to think of the human body as a living system and the endocrine system as a subsystem. The division of a system into a subsystem and its environment is dependent on the perspective chosen by the person studying a particular phenomenon.
Systems, subsystems, and suprasystems. Within the environment there are suprasystems, such as human society, and systems within the suprasystem, such as the educational and industrial systems and the health care delivery system. Within the health care delivery system are subsystems, such as the patient, family members, the nurse, the physician, and allied health care professionals and paraprofessionals.
alimentary system digestive system.
apothecaries' system see apothecaries' system.
autonomic nervous system see autonomic nervous system.
avoirdupois system see avoirdupois system.
behavioral system in the behavioral system model of nursing, the patterned, repetitive, and purposeful behaviors of an individual.
cardiovascular system the heart and blood vessels, by which blood is pumped and circulated through the body; see also circulatory system.
CD system (cluster designation) a system for classifying cell-surface markers expressed by lymphocytes based on a computer analysis of monoclonal antibodies against hla antigens, with antibodies having similar specificity characteristics being grouped together and assigned a number (CD1, CD2, CD3, etc.); these CD numbers are also applied to the specific antigens recognized by the various groups of monoclonal antibodies. See also CD antigen.
centimeter-gram-second system (CGS) (cgs) a system of measurements in which the units are based on the centimeter as the unit of length, the gram as the unit of mass, and the second as the unit of time.
central nervous system see central nervous system.
centrencephalic system the neurons in the central core of the brainstem from the thalamus to the medulla oblongata, connecting the cerebral hemispheres.
circulatory system see circulatory system.
client system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, the composite of physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and developmental variables that make up the total person.
colloid system (colloidal system) colloid (def. 3).
conduction system (conductive system (of heart)) the system of atypical cardiac muscle fibers, comprising the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes, internodal tracts, atrioventricular bundle, bundle branch, and terminal ramifications into the Purkinje network.
digestive system see digestive system.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system a comprehensive program designed to provide services to the patient in the prehospital setting. The system is activated when a call is made to the EMS operator, who then dispatches an ambulance to the patient. The patient receives critical interventions and is stabilized at the scene. A communication system allows the health care workers at the scene to contact a trauma center for information regarding further treatment and disposition of the patient, followed by transportation of the patient to the most appropriate facility for treatment.
endocrine system the system of ductless glands and other structures that produce internal secretions (hormones) that are released directly into the circulatory system, influencing metabolism and other body processes; see endocrine glands.
environmental control system environmental control unit.
expert system a set of computer programs designed to serve as an aid in decision making.
extrapyramidal system see extrapyramidal system.
gateway system a software interface between an online searcher and one or more search systems, facilitating the use of the system by searchers who are unfamiliar with it, or with online retrieval in general.
genitourinary system the organs concerned with production and excretion of urine, together with the reproductive organs. (See Plates.) Called also urogenital system.
haversian system a haversian canal and its concentrically arranged lamellae, constituting the basic unit of structure in compact bone (osteon).
Haversian system: Structures of compact and spongy bone with the central haversian canal surrounded by the lamellae. From Applegate, 2000.
health care system see health care system.
heterogeneous system a system or structure made up of mechanically separable parts, as an emulsion or suspension.
His-Purkinje system the intraventricular conduction system from the bundle of His to the distal Purkinje fibers, which carries the impulse to the ventricles.
Home Health Care Classification system see home health care classification system.
homogeneous system a system or structure made up of parts that cannot be mechanically separated, as a solution.
hypophyseoportal system (hypophysioportal system) (hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system) the venules connecting the hypothalamus with the sinusoidal capillaries of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland; they carry releasing substances to the pituitary.
immune system see immune system.
interpersonal system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, two or more individuals interacting in a given situation.
lay health system a system comprising an informal referral network and sources of treatment outside the formal biomedical sources of health care; it includes individual consultation and information-seeking through significant others and peers concerning health behaviors, symptoms, and evaluation of treatment before, during, and after consultation with health care professionals.
legal system in the omaha system, anything connected with law or its administration; it includes legal aid, attorney, courts, or Child Protective Services (CPS), and many other agencies and officials.
limbic system a system of brain structures common to the brains of all mammals, comprising the phylogenetically old cortex (archipallium and paleopallium) and its primarily related nuclei. It is associated with olfaction, autonomic functions, and certain aspects of emotion and behavior.
lymphatic system see lymphatic system.
lymphoid system the lymphoid tissue of the body, collectively; it consists of primary (or central) lymphoid tissues, the bone marrow, and thymus, and secondary (or peripheral) tissues, the lymph nodes, spleen, and gut-associated lymphoid tissue (tonsils, Peyer's patches).
lymphoreticular system the lymphoid and reticuloendothelial systems considered together; see also lymphoreticular disorders.
metric system see metric system.
mononuclear phagocyte system the group of highly phagocytic cells that have a common origin from stem cells of the bone marrow and develop circulating monocytes and tissue macrophages, which develop from monocytes that have migrated to connective tissue of the liver (kupffer's cells), lung, spleen, and lymph nodes. The term has been proposed to replace reticuloendothelial system, which includes some cells of different origin and does not include all macrophages.
nervous system see nervous system.
nursing system in the self-care model of nursing, all the actions and interactions of nurses and patients in nursing practice situations; nursing systems fall into three categories: wholly compensatory, partly compensatory, and supportive-educative.
Omaha system see omaha system.
oxygen delivery system a device that delivers oxygen through the upper airways to the lungs at concentrations above that of ambient air. There are two general types: the fixed performance or high flow type, which can supply all of the needs of a patient for inspired gas at a given fractional inspired oxygen; and the variable performance or low flow type, which cannot supply all of the patient's needs for oxygen and delivers fractional inspired oxygen that varies with ventilatory demand.
parasympathetic nervous system see parasympathetic nervous system.
peripheral nervous system the portion of the nervous system consisting of the nerves and ganglia outside the brain and spinal cord.
personal system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, the unified self, a complex whole that is rational, conscious, and feeling and that sets goals and decides on the means of achieving them.
pituitary portal system hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system.
portal system an arrangement by which blood collected from one set of capillaries passes through a large vessel or vessels and another set of capillaries before returning to the systemic circulation, as in the pituitary gland (the hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system) or the liver (the hepatic portal circulation).
renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system see renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
respiratory system the group of specialized organs whose specific function is to provide for the transfer of oxygen from the air to the blood and of waste carbon dioxide from the blood to the air. The organs of the system include the nose, the pharynx, the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, and the lungs. See also respiration and Plates 7 and 8.
reticular activating system see reticular activating system.
reticuloendothelial system see reticuloendothelial system.
safety system see safety system.
SI system see SI units.
skeletal system see skeletal system.
social system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, an organized boundary system of social roles, behaviors, and practices developed to maintain balance for growth, development, and performance, which involves an exchange of energy and information between the person and the environment for regulation and control of stressors.
support system in the omaha system, the circle of friends, family, and associates that provide love, care, and need gratification; it may include church, school, workplace, or other groupings.
sympathetic nervous system see sympathetic nervous system.
Unified Medical Language system see unified medical language system.
Unified Nursing Language system see unified nursing language system.
unit dose system a method of delivery of patient medications directly to the patient care unit. Following review by a nurse, a copy of the physician's original order is sent to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist reviews it again. The pharmacist then fills the order and delivers the medication to the patient care unit, usually in a 24-hour supply. Each patient has an individual supply of medications prepared and labeled by the pharmacist.
urinary system the system formed in the body by the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra, the organs concerned in the production and excretion of urine.
urogenital system genitourinary system.
vascular system circulatory system.
vasomotor system the part of the nervous system that controls the caliber of the blood vessels.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

skel·e·tal sys·tem

the bones and cartilages of the body.
Synonym(s): systema skeletale [TA]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

skeletal system

The bodily system that consists of the bones, their associated cartilages, and the joints, and supports and protects the body, produces blood cells, and stores minerals.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The therapy is an injectable, HA-based, settable, osteoconductive calcium phosphate bone substitute material, and it is indicated for filling bone voids or defects of the skeletal system (i.e., extremities and pelvis) that are not intrinsic to the stability of bony structure.
Special technology in the goals recorded how hard pupils were able to kick footballs, helping them to gain a clearer understanding of muscles and the skeletal system in action and how the two systems work in tandem to allow movement.
One glance at these futuristic looking bots will show how similar their structure is to a human's muscle and skeletal system.
Another study conducted by the Indian Medical Association revealed that heavy bags can result in permanent disability as growth of the skeletal system among children occurs during puberty.
In the first movie that explains the skeletal system, the steps taken to generate the sectioned images and surface models were also shown in addition.
Written by radiologists and other clinicians from North America and Australia, the 11 chapters cover basic principles and quality control, radiopharmaceuticals for clinical SPECT studies, and clinical applications of the imaging in neuroscience, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, neoplastic disease, the skeletal system, infection and inflammation, and pediatric cases, with cases in each chapter and ending with a compilation of interesting cases in other areas, such as a pseudoaneurysm and bile gastritis.
ULSAN, South Korea, January 20, 2017 -- Researchers at the university here have introduced a new treatment for skeletal system injuries that uses stem cells from human bone marrow and a carbon material with photocatalytic properties.
Its skeletal system is made up of gold wire which is insulated by a layer of silicone.
Extraskeletal osteosarcoma (ESOS) is a rare malignant mesenchymal tumour which does not involve the skeletal system directly1.
Camilla Kuhn's Samira and the Skeletons (9780802854636, $16.00) tells what happens when Samira learns about the skeletal system, begins to imagine everyone around her as a walking skeleton, and begins avoiding her classmates and even her best friend when she can't stop her visions from becoming spooky interferences in her life.
Skeletal system involvement in children is generally observed in multiple localizations and develops secondary to lung tuberculosis in association with immune deficiency.
YOGA BENEFITS WITH SENIOR IYENGAR TEACHER ORLA PUNCH "Yoga is so anti-aging both for the organs and muscular skeletal system.