Basic Biology


Is all the cartilage in the body the same?

There are three types of cartilage in the human body: 1) hyaline cartilage; 2) elastic cartilage; and 3) fibrocartilage. Hyaline cartilage (from the Greek hyalos, meaning “glass”) is the most common type of cartilage in the body. It has a translucent, pearly, blue-white appearance resembling glass. Hyaline cartilage provides stiff but flexible support and reduces friction between bony surfaces. It is found between the tips of the ribs and the bones of the sternum, at the end of the long bones, at the tip of the nose, and throughout the respiratory passages.

Elastic cartilage is similar to hyaline cartilage except it is very flexible and resilient. It is ideal for areas that need repeated bending and stretching. Elastic cartilage forms the external flap of the outer ear and is found in the auditory canal and epiglottis.


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