A fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

 that permeates the human body. A fascia is a connective tissue
Connective tissue
"Connective tissue" is a fibrous tissue. It is one of the four traditional classes of tissues . Connective Tissue is found throughout the body.In fact the whole framework of the skeleton and the different specialized connective tissues from the crown of the head to the toes determine the form of...

 that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding those structures together in much the same manner as plastic wrap
Plastic wrap
Plastic wrap, cling film , cling wrap or food wrap, is a thin plastic film typically used for sealing food items in containers to keep them fresh over a longer period of time...

 can be used to hold the contents of sandwiches together. It consists of several layers: a superficial fascia, a deep fascia, and a subserous (or visceral) fascia and extends uninterrupted from the head to the tip of the toes.

Like ligament
In anatomy, the term ligament is used to denote any of three types of structures. Most commonly, it refers to fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones and is also known as articular ligament, articular larua, fibrous ligament, or true ligament.Ligament can also refer to:* Peritoneal...

s, aponeuroses
Aponeuroses are layers of flat broad tendons. They have a shiny, whitish-silvery color, are histologically similar to tendons, and are very sparingly supplied with blood vessels and nerves. When dissected, aponeuroses are papery, and peel off by sections...

, and tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s, fasciae are dense regular connective tissues, containing closely packed bundles of collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 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 fibroblast
A fibroblast is a type of cell that synthesizes the extracellular matrix and collagen, the structural framework for animal tissues, and plays a critical role in wound healing...

s located within the fascia.


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
    Nomina Anatomica
    In the late nineteenth century some 50,000 terms for various body parts were in use. The same structures were described by different names, depending on the anatomist’s school and national tradition. Vernacular translations of Latin and Greek, as well as various eponymous terms, were barriers to...

     (NA 1983)
  • the one specified in the 1997 edition of Terminologia Anatomica
    Terminologia Anatomica
    Terminologia Anatomica is the international standard on human anatomic terminology. It was developed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology and the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists and was released in 1998. It supersedes the previous standard, Nomina...

     (TA 1997)

NA 1983 TA 1997 Description Example
Superficial fascia
Superficial fascia
Superficial fascia is found in the subcutis in most regions of the body, blending with the reticular layer of the dermis. It is present on the face, over the upper portion of the sternocleidomastoid, at the nape of the neck, and overlying the sternum. It is mainly loose areolar connective tissue...

(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
The dermis is a layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues, and is composed of two layers, the papillary and reticular dermis...

Fascia of Scarpa
Fascia of Scarpa
The deep layer is a layer of the anterior abdominal wall. It is found deep to the Camper Fascia and superficial to the External Oblique muscle.-Anatomy:...

Deep fascia
Deep fascia
Deep fascia is a layer of fascia which can surround individual muscles, and divide groups of muscles into compartments....

Fascia of muscles This is the dense fibrous connective tissue
Dense connective tissue
Dense connective tissue, also called dense fibrous tissue, has fibers as its main matrix element. Dense connective tissue is mainly composed of collagen type I. Crowded between the collagen fibers are rows of fibroblasts, fiber-forming cells, that manufacture the fibers. Dense connective tissue...

 that interpenetrates and surrounds the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body.
Transversalis fascia
Transversalis fascia
The transversalis fascia is a thin aponeurotic membrane which lies between the inner surface of the Transversus abdominis and the extraperitoneal fascia....

Visceral fascia
Visceral fascia
Visceral fascia suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue membranes. Each of the organs is covered in a double layer of fascia; these layers are separated by a thin serous membrane....

Visceral fascia, parietal fascia This suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue membranes
Biological membrane
A biological membrane or biomembrane is an enclosing or separatingmembrane that acts as a selective barrier, within or around a cell. It consists of a lipid bilayer with embedded proteins that may constitute close to 50% of membrane content...

The pericardium is a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great vessels.-Layers:...


Fasciae are normally thought of as passive structures that transmit mechanical tension generated by muscular activities or external forces throughout the body. Some research suggest that fasciae might be able to contract independently and thus actively influence muscle dynamics.

The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force. In doing so, fasciae allow muscles to glide over each other.

External links

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