Understanding Bone Anatomy for Accurate Coding

a healthcare professional looking at a bone x-ray of a knee and recording medical coding documentation at a hospital

The human body relies heavily on its skeletal framework, comprising 206 bones in adults, for essential functions. These bones offer crucial support and structure, protect vital organs, and regulate calcium levels within the body. In addition to recognizing the various bones within the body, it is a good idea to understand bone parts, bone types and bone cell types to fully grasp musculoskeletal function when coding.

Understanding the diverse categories of bones and the intricate components of each bone can be beneficial. Refreshing your knowledge of basic anatomy is valuable, enabling you to pinpoint the specific location, bone type, and affected bone part.

Different Types of Bones:

  • Short Bones: These cube-shaped bones are located in the ankle and wrist joints. Examples of these are the carpals of the wrist and tarsals of the ankle.
  • Long Bones: Designed to bear the body’s weight and facilitate movement, examples of these are the femur, tibia, fibula, phalanges, metatarsals, ulna, radius, and metacarpals.
  • Irregular Bones: With irregular shapes, these bones are dedicated to protecting internal organs, examples of these are the vertebrae and pelvic bones.
  • Flat Bones: These bones can be curved or flat and also serve as protectors of internal organs. The skull, ribs, and sternum fall under this category.
  • Sesamoid Bones: Found within tendons, specifically in the knees, feet, and hands, sesamoid bones protect tendons from pressure. An example of this is the patella.

Along with bone types, there are specific regions to a bone, particularly a long bone:

  • Diaphysis or Shaft: The central and longest section of a long bone, the diaphysis, holds bone marrow.
  • Epiphysis or Ends: This is the terminal portion of each end of the bone which helps with articulation.
  • Metaphysis: Positioned between the diaphysis and epiphysis, the metaphysis bears the load from the epiphysis to the diaphysis. In children, this region houses the epiphyseal plate, which is vital for growth.

The Four Layers of Bones:

  1. Periosteum: The outer shell of bone which contains nerves and blood vessels.
  2. Compact or Dense Tissue: The smooth layer which protects the inner bone tissue.
  3. Spongy or Cancellous Tissue: The porous portion which resembles a honeycomb.
  4. Bone Marrow: Located within the bone’s inner cavity, this jelly-like substance is the epicenter of blood cell production.

The Three Different Types of Bone Cells:

  • Osteoblasts: These cells build the bone tissue.
  • Osteocytes: These cells control the mineral and calcium content that maintain the bone tissue.
  • Osteoclasts: These cells are responsible for breaking done old bone tissue.

As you can see, bones are more complex than they appear. Knowing your bone anatomy is always helpful when it comes to accurate medical coding, know your site, type, and laterality when coding a skeletal diagnosis or fracture. Accurate coding is the best coding! Connect with our expert medical coding specialists today and see how we can help your healthcare organization.

Subscribe to our MRA Newsletter

Bringing peace of mind to healthcare since 1986

Share this post with your friends

You may be interested in...

AHIMA Approved

This program has been approved for continuing education unit(s) (CEUs) for use in fulfilling the continuing education requirements of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Granting of Approved CEUs from AHIMA does not constitute endorsement of the program content or its program provider.