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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 M24.6
ICD-9 718.5
DiseasesDB 29910
MeSH D000844
Osseous ankylosis has fused two vertebrae of this North Atlantic right whale specimen

Ankylosis or anchylosis (from Greek ἀγκύλος, bent, crooked) is a stiffness of a joint due to abnormal adhesion and rigidity of the bones of the joint, which may be the result of injury or disease. The rigidity may be complete or partial and may be due to inflammation of the tendinous or muscular structures outside the joint or of the tissues of the joint itself. Noma—a gangrenous disease still widespread among malnourished children living on the borders of the Sahara desert—can cause ankylosis of the maxilla and mandible, impairing the ability to speak and eat.[1]

When the structures outside the joint are affected, the term "false" ankylosis has been used in contradistinction to "true" ankylosis, in which the disease is within the joint. When inflammation has caused the joint-ends of the bones to be fused together the ankylosis is termed osseous or complete. Excision of a completely ankylosed shoulder or elbow may restore free mobility and usefulness to the limb. "Ankylosis" is also used as an anatomical term, bones being said to ankylose (or anchylose) when, from being originally distinct, they coalesce, or become so joined together that no motion can take place between them.

Fossil record

Evidence for ankylosis found in the fossil record is studied by paleopathologists, specialists in ancient disease and injury. Ankylosis has been reported in dinosaur fossils from several species, including Allosaurus fragilis, Becklespinax altispinax, Poekilopleuron bucklandii, and Tyrannosaurus rex (including the Stan specimen).[2]

See also


  1. Deeb, G. R.; Yih, W. Y.; Merrill, R. G. & Lundeen, R. C. (1999), "Noma: report of a case resulting in bony ankylosis of the maxilla and mandible", Dentomaxillofacial Radiology 28 (6): 378–382 .
  2. Molnar, R. E., 2001, Theropod paleopathology: a literature survey: In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, p. 337-363.

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