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Not to be confused with fassia, fuchsia, or fascism.
For other uses, see Fascia (disambiguation).
The rectus sheath, an example of a fascia.
Latin fascia
Precursor mesenchyme
Gray's p.376
MeSH D005205
Anatomical terminology

A fascia (/ˈfæʃə/, /ˈfæʃiə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃɨ.i/; adjective or fascial; from Latin: "band") is connective tissue fibers, primarily collagen, that form sheets or bands beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs.[1] Fasciae are classified according to their distinct layers, their functions and their anatomical location: superficial fascia, deep (or muscle) fascia, and visceral (or parietal) fascia.

Like ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons, fasciae are dense regular connective tissues, 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.[1]

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.[2] The two most common systems are:

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.[3] 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. Transversalis 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 to minimize the reduction 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.[4]

Clinical significance[edit]

Fascia becomes important clinically when it loses stiffness, becomes too stiff or has decreased shearing ability.[5] When inflammation 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 tranverses 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.

See also[edit]

This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.


  1. ^ a b Marieb, Elaine Nicpon; Hoehn, Katja (2007). Human anatomy & physiology. Pearson Education. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-321-37294-9. 
  2. ^ Committee on Anatomical Termi, Federative. Terminologia Anatomica: International Anatomical Terminology. Thieme Stuttgart. p. 33. ISBN 3-13-114361-4. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Faller, A.; Schuenke, M. (2004). The Human Body. Thieme Medical Publishers. p. 127. 
  5. ^ PMID 24962403

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascia — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

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