A remarkable property of bone remodeling is that osteoblasts form bone matrix exactly where and when osteoclasts have removed it. The bone remodeling compartment (BRC) canopies that cover bone surfaces undergoing remodeling, were proposed to be critical players in this mechanism. Here, we provide support to this hypothesis by analyzing the changes in prevalence of BRC canopies during the progress of the remodeling cycle in a cohort of healthy individuals and in patients with endogenous Cushing's syndrome (CS), and by relating these changes in prevalence with the extent of bone forming surfaces. Both cohorts showed almost 100% canopy coverage above resorbing osteoclasts, and only about 76% above bone forming surfaces. This indicates that BRC canopies are invariably associated with the early stage of the remodeling cycle, but may disappear later. Interestingly, in control and two thirds of the CS patients, a significant decline in canopy coverage occurred only once bone formation was initiated, but in the remaining third of the CS patients the prevalence of canopies already decreased prior to bone formation. This canopy loss prior to initiation of bone formation coincided with significantly less bone forming surface compared to what did canopy loss at a later stage. These observations support a model where bone restitution is compromised in the absence of BRC canopies, and apparently does not start when the BRC canopy is lost prior to initiation of the bone formation step. This model is discussed in the context of possible biological roles of BRC canopies. It suggests that BRC canopies could be privileged targets for treating patients suffering from a negative bone formation-resorption balance. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.