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Diagram of compact bone from a transverse section of a typical long bone's cortex.
Haversian canals[note 1] (sometimes canals of Havers, named after British physician Clopton Havers) are a series of tubes around narrow channels formed by lamellae. This is the region of bone called cortical bone. Osteons are arranged in parallel to the long axis of the bone. The haversian canals surround blood vessels and nerve cells throughout the bone and communicate with osteocytes in lacunae (spaces within the dense bone matrix that contain the living bone cells) through canaliculi. This unique arrangement is conducive to mineral salt deposits and storage which gives bone tissue its strength.
In mature compact bone most of the individual lamellae form concentric rings around larger longitudinal canals (approx. 50 µm in diameter) within the bone tissue. These canals are called haversian canals. Haversian canals typically run parallel to the surface and along the long axis of the bone. The canals and the surrounding lamellae (8-15) are called a haversian system or an osteon. A haversian canal generally contains one or two capillaries and nerve fibres.
- Youtube, YouTube video of Haversian canal system within cortical bone
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