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Concept: Superficial 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


This case report describes a 42-year-old female who presented with complaints of diffuse pain in her thoracic paraspinal region from T2 to T7. Physical examination revealed tenderness, increased turgor and restriction of her superficial fascia. A potential first time description of successful management utilizing fascia dry needling is described in this report with improvements noted in pain, range of motion, and functional activities. The patient was discharged from physiotherapy after four treatment sessions, and a follow-up after 3 months revealed that she was pain free and fully functional. A grading system (Sudarshan and Murugavel Dry Needling Grading Scale(©)) is proposed describing the various grades of dry needling to guide clinical reasoning and decision-making.

Concepts: Grade, Pattern grading, Physical examination, Massage, Fascia, Superficial fascia, Dry needling


The advancement of liposculpturing and fascial flaps in reconstructive surgery has renewed interest in the superficial fascia of abdomen. Its histological and biochemical composition may play a vital role in maintaining strength and elasticity of the fascia. Hence, study of abdominal fascia for the elastic, collagen, and hydroxyproline contents is desirable to understand asymmetrical bulges and skin folds and in improving surgical treatment of obesity. Samples of superficial fascia were collected from of upper and lower abdomen from 21 fresh cadavers (15 males and 6 females). Samples were stained using Verhoeff-Van Gieson stain. Digital images of superficial fascia were analyzed using TissueQuant software. The samples were also subjected to hydroxyproline estimation. The superficial fascia was formed by loosely packed collagen fibers mixed with abundant elastic fibers and adipose tissue. Elastic contents and collagen contents of superficial fascia were significantly more in the upper abdomen than that in the lower abdomen in males. Hydroxyproline content of superficial fascia of upper abdomen was significantly more than that of lower abdomen in both males and females. The elastic, collagen and hydroxyproline contents of superficial fascia of upper abdomen were higher compared to the lower abdomen. This may be a reason for asymmetric bulging over abdomen and more sagging fold of skin in the lower abdomen than in the upper abdomen. This study may therefore be helpful in finding new ways to manage obesity and other body contour deformities.

Concepts: Collagen, Obesity, Surgery, Muscle, Adipose tissue, Fascia, Human abdomen, Superficial fascia



The cervical fasciae have always represented a matter of debate. Indeed, in the literature, it is quite impossible to find two authors reporting the same description of the neck fascia. In the present review, a historical background was outlined, confirming that the Malgaigne’s definition of the cervical fascia as an anatomical Proteus is widely justified. In an attempt to provide an essential and a more comprehensive classification, a fixed pattern of description of cervical fasciae is proposed. Based on the morphogenetic criteria, two fascial groups have been recognized: (1) fasciae which derive from primitive fibro-muscular laminae (muscular fasciae or myofasciae); (2) fasciae which derive from connective thickening (visceral fasciae). Topographic and comparative approaches allowed to distinguish three different types of fasciae in the neck: the superficial, the deep and the visceral fasciae. The first is most connected to the skin, the second to the muscles and the third to the viscera. The muscular fascia could be further divided into three layers according to the relationship with the different muscles.

Concepts: Muscle, Tissues, Fascia, Superficial fascia


In the past fifteen years, multiple articles have appeared that target fascia as an important component of treatment in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. For better understand the possible actions of fascial treatments, there is a need to clarify the definition of fascia and how it interacts with various other structures: muscles, nerves, vessels, organs. Fascia is a tissue that occurs throughout the body. However, different kinds of fascia exist. In this narrative review we demonstrate that symptoms related to dysfunction of the lymphatic system, superficial vein system, and thermoregulation are more related to dysfunction involving superficial fascia. Dysfunction involving alterations of mechanical coordination, proprioception, balance, myofascial pain, and cramps are more related to deep fascia and the epimysium. Superficial fascia is obviously more superficial and in addition, also contains more elastic tissue. Consequently, effective treatment can probably be achieved with light massage or with treatment modalities that use large surface that spread the friction in the first layers of the subcutis. The deep fasciae and the epymisium require treatment that generates enough pressure to reach the surface of muscles. For this reason the use of small surface tools, manual deep friction with knuckles or elbows are indicated. Due to different anatomical locations and to the qualities of the fascial tissue, it is important to recognize that different modalities of approach have to be taken into consideration when considering treatment options.

Concepts: Muscle, Organ, Tissues, Pain, Cardiovascular system, Fascia, Deep fascia, Superficial fascia


The periareolar incision is the preferred method for mammaplasty because of the minimal scarring, and suturing of the superficial fascial system (SFS) is useful for avoiding hypertrophic scarring. In this report, we describe the anatomical location of the SFS around the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) and its histological structure.

Concepts: Medicine, Biology, Physiology, Histology, Anatomy, Anatomical terms of location, Fascia, Superficial fascia


Recent techniques use the superficial fascia system for anchoring the glandular tissue to the chest wall for minimal tension skin repair in contrast to classic dermal suspension.

Concepts: Secretion, Epithelium, Skin, Gland, Fascia, Superficial fascia, Mammoplasty


The aim for microsurgical reconstruction has broadened from achieving functional to also providing good esthetic outcomes. The perforator flaps are widely used for this goal. However, perforator flaps can still be bulky especially to resurface the skin defect. We hypothesized that elevation from the superficial fascial plane can obtain a thin and viable flap. In this retrospective study, we report consecutive perforator flaps elevated at the superficial fascial plane from November 2007 to July 2013. Total of 304 flaps which were 196 superficial circumflex iliac perforator (SCIP) flaps, 81 anterolateral thigh (ALT) flaps, and 27 gluteal artery perforator (GAP) flaps were reviewed. The patient group composed of 189 male and 115 female patients with an average age of 35.8 years. The average body mass index was 23.5 kg/m2 (range, 15.91-34.57 kg/m2). All 304 flaps were successfully elevated with this approach with at least one viable perforator. The thickness averaged approximately 6 mm for ALT flap (range, 4-11 mm), 5 mm for SCIP flap (range, 3-12 mm), and 8.5 mm for GAP flap (range, 5-11 mm). Complete survival was noted in 282 flaps, partial loss of flaps requiring secondary procedures in 6 cases, partial loss healing secondarily in 8 cases, and total loss in 9 cases. During the average follow-up of 34 months, secondary debulking procedures were required in six flaps. This new approach of elevation on the superficial fascia is reliable, provides a viable tissue, and is able to obtain a thin flap achieving good functional and esthetic outcome.

Concepts: Body mass index, Outcome, Fascia, Wing, Flap, Superficial fascia, Leading edge slats


Fascia has traditionally been thought of as a passive structure that envelops muscles, and the term “fascia” was misused and confusing. However, it is now evident that fascia is a dynamic tissue with complex vasculature and innervation. A definition of fascia as an integral tissue has been provided here, highlighting the main features of the superficial and deep fasciae. Wide anatomic variations and site-specific differences in fascial structure are described, coupled with results of our extensive investigations of fascial anatomy. This will enable surgeons to make better decisions on selecting the appropriate fascia in the construction of fascial flaps. The use of the superficial or deep fasciae in the creation of a fascial flap cannot be selected at random, but must be guided by the anatomical features of the different types of fasciae. In particular, we suggest the use of the superficial fascia, such as the parascapular fascio-cutaneous free flap or any cutaneous flap, when a well-vascularized elastic flap, with the capacity to adhere to underlying tissues, is required, and a fascio-cutaneous flap formed by aponeurotic fascia to resurface any tendon or joints exposures. Moreover, the aponeurotic fascia, such as the fascia lata, can be used as a surgical patch if the plastic surgeon requires strong resistance to stress and/or the capacity to glide freely. Finally, the epimysial fascia, such as in the latissimus dorsi flap, can be used with success when used together with the underlying muscles. Clearly, extensive clinical experience and judgment are necessary for assessment of their potential use.

Concepts: Surgery, Muscle, Physician, Tissues, Anatomy, Fascia, Deep fascia, Superficial fascia