The scapula free flap is often the first choice for reconstruction of bony defects of the facial skeleton. However, the vascularised rib as part of a free rib osteomyocutaneous flap may be a suitable second choice. We have investigated the morphology and clinical dimensions of the 7th rib and the scapula, and the ability of the available bone to carry dental implants. The age and sex of the cadaver, and the donor side, were also recorded. The dimensions of the scapulas and 7th ribs (n = 130 of each) from 65 cadavers were measured at 4 different points using osteometric methods. Examination showed that bone from the scapula and 7th rib were sufficient for placement of implants. The 7th rib gave reliable measurements for both height and width, and a consistent relation between compact and cancellous bone. Although the scapula provided adequate compact and cancellous bone, there were variations depending on the segment of bone chosen. Bones from male cadavers were more suitable for implantation. In both the scapula and the 7th rib ageing had a significant adverse effect in only one dimension. Most points of measurement have satisfactory bony dimensions for insertion of dental implants. (C) 2014 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.