||It has been suggested that Superficial fascia be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2014.|
The rectus sheath, an example of a fascia.
A fascia (//, //; plural fasciae //; adjective fascial; from Latin: "band") is a band or sheet of connective tissue fibers, primarily collagen, that forms beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs. Fasciae are classified according to their distinct layers as in superficial fascia, deep (or muscle) fascia, visceral and parietal fascia, and by their functions and anatomical location. Like ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons, fasciae are made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers oriented in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. Fasciae are consequently flexible structures able to resist great unidirectional tension forces until the wavy pattern of fibers has been straightened out by the pulling force. These collagen fibers are produced by the fibroblasts located within the fascia.
Fasciae are similar to ligaments and tendons as they have collagen as their major component. They differ in their location and function: ligaments join one bone to another bone, tendons join muscle to bone and fasciae surround muscles or other structures.
There exists some controversy about what structures are considered "fascia", and how fascia should be classified. The two most common systems are:
- The one specified in the 1983 edition of Nomina Anatomica (NA 1983)
- The one specified in the 1997 edition of Terminologia Anatomica (TA 1997)
|NA 1983||TA 1997||Description||Example|
|Superficial fascia||(not considered fascia in this system)||This is found in the subcutis in most regions of the body, blending with the reticular layer of the dermis.||Fascia of Scarpa|
|Deep fascia||Fascia of muscles||This is the dense fibrous connective tissue that interpenetrates and surrounds the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body.||Transverse fascia|
|Visceral fascia||Visceral fascia, parietal fascia||This suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue membranes.||Pericardium|
Fasciae are normally thought of as passive structures that transmit mechanical tension generated by muscular activities or external forces throughout the body.
The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction of muscular force. In doing so, fasciae provide a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. Fascial tissues are frequently innervated by sensory nerve endings. These include myelinated as well as unmyelinated nerves. Based on this a proprioceptive, nociceptive as well as interoceptive function of fascia has been postulated. Fascial tissues - particularly those with tendinous or aponeurotic properties - are also able to store and release kinetic energy. This is utilized in Fascia Training.
Fascia becomes important clinically when it loses stiffness, becomes too stiff or has decreased shearing ability. When inflammatory fasciitis or trauma causes fibrosis and adhesions, fascial tissue fails to differentiate the adjacent structures effectively. This can happen after surgery where the fascia has been incised and healing includes a scar that traverses the surrounding structures. A fasciotomy may be used to relieve compartment syndrome as a result of high pressure within an anatomical compartment created by fascia.
- Marieb, Elaine Nicpon; Hoehn, Katja (2007). Human anatomy & physiology. Pearson Education. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-321-37294-9.
- Committee on Anatomical Termi, Federative. Terminologia Anatomica: International Anatomical Terminology. Thieme Stuttgart. p. 33. ISBN 3-13-114361-4.
- Skandalakis, John E.; Skandalakis, P.N.; Skandalakis, L.J.; Skandalakis, J. (2002). Surgical Anatomy and Technique, 2nd Ed. Atlanta, GA: Springer. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0-387-98752-5.
- Faller, A.; Schuenke, M. (2004). The Human Body. Thieme Medical Publishers. p. 127.
- Schleip R „Fascia as an organ of communication“. In: Schleip R, et al. „Fascia - the tensional network of the human body“, Elsevier Ltd, Edinburgh 2012, pages 77-112.
- PMID 24962403
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