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Concept: Fascia


Conventional sports training emphasizes adequate training of muscle fibres, of cardiovascular conditioning and/or neuromuscular coordination. Most sports-associated overload injuries however occur within elements of the body wide fascial net, which are then loaded beyond their prepared capacity. This tensional network of fibrous tissues includes dense sheets such as muscle envelopes, aponeuroses, as well as specific local adaptations, such as ligaments or tendons. Fibroblasts continually but slowly adapt the morphology of these tissues to repeatedly applied challenging loading stimulations. Principles of a fascia oriented training approach are introduced. These include utilization of elastic recoil, preparatory counter movement, slow and dynamic stretching, as well as rehydration practices and proprioceptive refinement. Such training should be practiced once or twice a week in order to yield in a more resilient fascial body suit within a time frame of 6-24 months. Some practical examples of fascia oriented exercises are presented.

Concepts: Collagen, Muscle, Physical exercise, Tissues, Connective tissue, Tendon, Fascia, Fibrous connective tissue


Rib cartilage is an abundant source for cartilage grafts when significant dorsal nasal augmentation or structural support is indicated. Diced cartilage wrapped in fascia was developed to counteract warping, visibility, and displacement of rib cartilage as a dorsal solid graft. The technique for wrapping diced cartilage has evolved during the past several years.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Grafting, Fascia, Rectus abdominis muscle


The origins and validity of the term “superficial musculoaponeurotic system” (SMAS) is reviewed. Gray stated the superficial fascia connects the skin with the deep or aponeurotic fascia and consists of fibro-areolar tissue. Hollinshead wrote superficial fascia exists throughout the body and contains a variable amount of fat. In the head and neck, it encloses voluntary muscles in its deep portion. Skoog found superficial fascia was fixed to the dense, deep fascia by fibrous adhesions in the temporal, preauricular, and parotid area. Mitz stated “There is a ‘superficial muscular and aponeurotic system’ (SMAS) in the parotid and cheek areas.” SMAS has an intimate relationship with the entire superficial fascia of the head and neck and divides the subcutaneous fat into 2 layers. Wassef found a continuous fibromuscular layer at the deep limit of the “subcutis,” which corresponded to the “superficial fascia.” Nakajima reported the subcutaneous adipofascial tissue was made up of 2 adipofascial layers. Macchi found 2 different fibroadipose connective layers bounded to the laminar connective tissue layer (SMAS). In the cheek, Hwang found horizontal fibrous connective tissues (membranous layer of superficial fascia) divided the superficial fascia into the superficial fatty layer and the deep fatty layer. Recently, Mitz explained the reason for the term SMAS. The “musculo+aponeurotic” component is based on histology of muscle cells, including the risorius, in the same structure to be surgically consistent. The aponeurotic cells belong to the same surgical layer. SMAS is not sufficient to replace the old term “superficial fascia” of the cheek area.

Concepts: Muscle, Epithelium, Tissues, Muscular system, Connective tissue, Fascia


Katakori is a symptom name that is unique to Japan, and refers to myofascial pain syndrome-like clinical signs in the shoulder girdle. Various methods of pain relief for katakori have been reported, but in the present study, we examined the clinical effects of multi-acupuncture point injections (MAPI) in the acupuncture points with which we empirically achieved an effect, as well as the anatomical sites affected by liquid medicine. The subjects were idiopathic katakori patients (n = 9), and three cadavers for anatomical investigation. BL-10, GB-21, LI-16, SI-14, and BL-38 as the WHO notation were selected as the acupuncture point. Injections of 1 mL of 1% w/v mepivacaine were introduced at the same time into each of these points in the patients. Assessment items were the Pain Relief Score and the therapeutic effect period. Dissections were centered at the puncture sites of cadavers. India ink was similarly injected into each point, and each site that was darkly-stained with India ink was evaluated. Katakori pain in the present study was significantly reduced by MAPI. Regardless of the presence or absence of trigger points, pain was significantly reduced in these cases. Dark staining with India ink at each of the points in the anatomical analysis was as follows: BL-10: over the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and rectus capitis posterior major muscle fascia; GB-21: over the supraspinatus muscle fascia; LI-16: over the supraspinatus muscle fascia; SI-14: over the rhomboid muscle fascia; and BL-38: over the rhomboid muscle fascia. The anatomical study suggested that the drug effect was exerted on the muscles above and below the muscle fascia, as well as the peripheral nerves because the points of action in acupuncture were darkly-stained in the spaces between the muscle and the muscle fascia.

Concepts: Muscle, Pain, Acupuncture, Shoulder, Myofascial pain syndrome, Acupuncture point, Moxibustion, Fascia


Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to rejuvenate truncal aesthetics, in which restoring “normal” waistline definition is one of the most challenging elements. Advancement in surgical techniques is reducing surgical risk and improving aesthetic outcomes. In this study we adopted the “Brazilian” abdominoplasty technique, originally presented by Ramos at the International Society of Plastic Surgeons Meeting in Australia (2008). Waist definition is improved by medially advancing Scarpa’s fascia and repairing any divarication of the rectus abdominis muscles before vertically reducing redundant skin. In our study we demonstrated the role of Scarpa’s fascia as an important part of the superficial fascial system, which helps define waist contour. The technique we demonstrate shows improved contouring and waist definition with lower complication rates (by minimising dissection and dead spaces). LEVEL OF EVIDENCE IV: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

Concepts: Better, Medicine, Improve, Evidence-based medicine, Surgery, Muscle, Plastic surgery, Fascia


Injection of hypertonic saline into deep tissues of the back (subcutis, muscle or the surrounding fascia) can induce acute low back pain (LBP). So far, no study has analyzed differences in temporal, qualitative and spatial pain characteristics originating from these tissues. The current study aimed to investigate the role of the thoracolumbar fascia as a potential source of LBP. In separate sessions, twelve healthy subjects received ultrasound-guided bolus injections of isotonic saline (0.9%) or hypertonic saline (5.8%) into the erector spinae muscle, the thoracolumbar fascia (posterior layer) and the overlying subcutis. Subjects were asked to rate pain intensity, duration, quality and spatial extent. Pressure pain thresholds were determined pre- and post-injection. Injections of hypertonic saline into the fascia resulted in significantly larger area under the curve of pain intensity over time than injections into subcutis (p<0.01) or muscle (p<0.001), primarily based on longer pain durations and to a lesser extent on higher peak pain ratings. Pressure hyperalgesia was only induced by injection of hypertonic saline into muscle, but not fascia or subcutis. Pain radiation and pain affect evoked by fascia injection exceeded those of the muscle (P<0.01) and the subcutis significantly (P<0.05). Pain descriptors after fascia injection (burning, throbbing and stinging) suggested innervation by both A- and C-fiber nociceptors. These findings show that the thoracolumbar fascia is the deep tissue of the back that is most sensitive to chemical stimulation, making it a prime candidate to contribute to non-specific LBP but not to localized pressure hyperalgesia.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Pain, Nociceptor, Acupuncture, Massage, Fascia


In this overview, new and existent material on the organization and composition of the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) will be evaluated in respect to its anatomy, innervation biomechanics and clinical relevance. The integration of the passive connective tissues of the TLF and active muscular structures surrounding this structure are discussed, and the relevance of their mutual interactions in relation to low back and pelvic pain reviewed. The TLF is a girdling structure consisting of several aponeurotic and fascial layers that separates the paraspinal muscles from the muscles of the posterior abdominal wall. The superficial lamina of the posterior layer of the TLF (PLF) is dominated by the aponeuroses of the latissimus dorsi and the serratus posterior inferior. The deeper lamina of the PLF forms an encapsulating retinacular sheath around the paraspinal muscles. The middle layer of the TLF (MLF) appears to derive from an intermuscular septum that developmentally separates the epaxial from the hypaxial musculature. This septum forms during the fifth and sixth weeks of gestation. The paraspinal retinacular sheath (PRS) is in a key position to act as a ‘hydraulic amplifier’, assisting the paraspinal muscles in supporting the lumbosacral spine. This sheath forms a lumbar interfascial triangle (LIFT) with the MLF and PLF. Along the lateral border of the PRS, a raphe forms where the sheath meets the aponeurosis of the transversus abdominis. This lateral raphe is a thickened complex of dense connective tissue marked by the presence of the LIFT, and represents the junction of the hypaxial myofascial compartment (the abdominal muscles) with the paraspinal sheath of the epaxial muscles. The lateral raphe is in a position to distribute tension from the surrounding hypaxial and extremity muscles into the layers of the TLF. At the base of the lumbar spine all of the layers of the TLF fuse together into a thick composite that attaches firmly to the posterior superior iliac spine and the sacrotuberous ligament. This thoracolumbar composite (TLC) is in a position to assist in maintaining the integrity of the lower lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint. The three-dimensional structure of the TLF and its caudally positioned composite will be analyzed in light of recent studies concerning the cellular organization of fascia, as well as its innervation. Finally, the concept of a TLC will be used to reassess biomechanical models of lumbopelvic stability, static posture and movement.

Concepts: Bone, Lumbar vertebrae, Muscle, Tissues, Pelvis, Abdomen, Connective tissue, Fascia


Every body structure is wrapped in connective tissue, or fascia, creating a structural continuity that gives form and function to every tissue and organ. Currently, there is still little information on the functions and interactions between the fascial continuum and the body system; unfortunately, in medical literature there are few texts explaining how fascial stasis or altered movement of the various connective layers can generate a clinical problem. Certainly, the fascia plays a significant role in conveying mechanical tension, in order to control an inflammatory environment. The fascial continuum is essential for transmitting muscle force, for correct motor coordination, and for preserving the organs in their site; the fascia is a vital instrument that enables the individual to communicate and live independently. This article considers what the literature offers on symptoms related to the fascial system, trying to connect the existing information on the continuity of the connective tissue and symptoms that are not always clearly defined. In our opinion, knowing and understanding this complex system of fascial layers is essential for the clinician and other health practitioners in finding the best treatment strategy for the patient.

Concepts: Bone, Blood, Muscle, Motor control, Tissues, System, Connective tissue, Fascia


Myofascial release (MR) on the posterior thoracolumbar fascia (PLF) is one of the manual techniques aim to restore the normal length and tension of restricted fasciae and muscles.

Concepts: Muscle, The Normal, Normal distribution, Fascia


Fusion zones between superficial fascia and deep fascia have been recognized by surgical anatomists since 1938. Anatomical dissection performed by the author suggested that additional superficial fascia fusion zones exist.

Concepts: Biology, Anatomy, Human anatomy, History of anatomy, Dissection, Fascia, Deep fascia, Superficial fascia