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We measured the thickness of the transverse structures associated with the bovine coccygeal transverse processes (bone specimen) by using ultrasonic waves and examined the reliability of this measurement for use in spinal surgery. We first measured the velocity of ultrasonic waves propagating in the spinous process. We then made a hole in the transverse process with an air drill and placed an ultrasonic transducer with a center frequency of 10 MHz in the hole. The time of reflection of the ultrasonic wave from the underside of the transverse process was detected to estimate the remaining bone thickness. The thickness estimated by using ultrasound was compared with the thickness measured by microscopic examination. We could detect reflection waves from the underside of the transverse process in 91.7% of cases (i.e., 22 of 24 measurements using 6 bones from 3 cows). The thickness of the transverse processes in which we detected the waves varied from 0.24 to 6.8 mm. The 95% limit of agreement between ultrasonic and histological measurement was 0.71 mm. Pearson's correlation coefficient showed a strong and positive relationship between the two measurements (r = 0.97, n = 22, P <; 0.0001).