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Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 855–862 | Cite as

3D reconstruction of the crural and thoracolumbar fasciae

  • L. Benetazzo
  • A. Bizzego
  • R. De Caro
  • G. Frigo
  • D. Guidolin
  • C. SteccoEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

To create computerized three-dimensional models of the crural fascia and of the superficial layer of the thoracolumbar fascia.

Methods

Serial sections of these two fasciae, stained with Azan-Mallory, van Gieson and anti-S100 antibody stains, were recorded. The resulting images were merged (Image Zone 5.0 software) and aligned (MatLab Image Processing Toolkit). Color thresholding was applied to identify the structures of interest. 3D models were obtained with Tcl/Tk scripts and Paraview 3.2.1 software. From these models, the morphometric features of these fasciae were evaluated with ImageJ.

Results

In the crural fascia, collagen fibers represent less than 20% of the total volume, arranged in three distinct sub-layers (mean thickness, 115 μm), separated by a layer of loose connective tissue (mean thickness, 43 μm). Inside a single sub-layer, all the fibers are parallel, whereas the angle between the fibers of adjacent layers is about 78°. Elastic fibers are less than 1%. Nervous fibers are mostly concentrated in the middle layer. The superficial layer of the thoracolumbar fascia is also formed of three thinner sub-layers, but only the superficial one is similar to the crural fascia sub-layers, the intermediate one is similar to a flat tendon, and the deep one is formed of loose connective tissue. Only the superficial sub-layer has rich innervation and a few elastic fibers.

Discussion

Computerized three-dimensional models provide a detailed representation of the fascial structure, for better understanding of the interactions among the different components. This is a fundamental step in understanding the mechanical behavior of the fasciae and their role in pathology.

Keywords

Crural fascia Thoracolumbar fascia Connective tissue 3D models Collagen 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Prof. Natali and his collaborators for their skillful assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Benetazzo
    • 1
  • A. Bizzego
    • 1
  • R. De Caro
    • 2
  • G. Frigo
    • 1
  • D. Guidolin
    • 2
  • C. Stecco
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Information EngineeringUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Section of Anatomy, Department of Human Anatomy and PhysiologyUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

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