Thoracolumbar fascia

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Thoracolumbar fascia
Diagram of a transverse section of the posterior abdominal wall, to show the disposition of the lumbodorsal fascia.
Superficial muscles of the back. The thoracolumbar fascia is the gray area at bottom center.
Latin fascia thoracolumbalis, fascia lumbodorsalis
TA A04.3.02.501
FMA 25072
Anatomical terminology

The thoracolumbar fascia (lumbodorsal fascia or thoracodorsal fascia) is a deep investing membrane throughout most of the posterior thorax and abdomen although it is a thin fibrous lamina in the thoracic region. Above, it is continuous with a similar investing layer on the back of the neck—the nuchal fascia.

Nuchal fascia fascia sheathing the autochtonous musculature of the neck

The nuchal fascia is a fascia covering the autochthonous musculature of the neck as a part of the cervical fascia. It proceeds the thoracolumbar fascia to the top (cranial). The fascia itself is made of two parts: A superficial layer and a deeper layer that is located among the Trapezius muscle and that sheaths the deeper cervical musculature from dorsal side. Expanding laterally, the fascia also covers the dorsal musculature. In the middle of the deeper layer a bulge is resided – the nuchal ligament.


It is formed of longitudinal and transverse fibers that bridge the aponeuroses of internal oblique and transversalis, costal angles and iliac crest laterally, to the vertebral column and sacrum medially. In doing so, they cover the paravertebral muscles.

Transverse abdominal muscle

The transverse abdominal muscle (TVA), also known as the transverse abdominis, transversalis muscle and transversus abdominis muscle, is a muscle layer of the anterior and lateral abdominal wall which is deep to the internal oblique muscle. It is thought by most fitness instructors to be a significant component of the core.

Rib cage arrangement of bones

The rib cage is the arrangement of ribs attached to the vertebral column and sternum in the thorax of most vertebrates, that encloses and protects the heart and lungs. In humans, the rib cage, also known as the thoracic cage, is a bony and cartilaginous structure which surrounds the thoracic cavity and supports the shoulder girdle to form the core part of the human skeleton. A typical human rib cage consists of 24 ribs in 12 pairs, the sternum and xiphoid process, the costal cartilages, and the 12 thoracic vertebrae.

It is made up of three layers, anterior, middle, and posterior. The anterior and middle layers insert onto the transverse processes of the vertebral column while the posterior layer inserts onto the tips of the spinous processes, hence it is indirectly continuous with the interspinous ligaments.

Vertebra bone in the spinal column

In the vertebrate spinal column, each vertebra is an irregular bone with a complex structure composed of bone and some hyaline cartilage, the proportions of which vary according to the segment of the backbone and the species of vertebrate.

The anterior layer is the thinnest and the posterior layer is the thickest. Two spaces are formed between these three layers of the fascia.

Fascia layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels and nerves

A fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is classified by layer, as superficial fascia, deep fascia, and visceral or parietal fascia, or by its function and anatomical location.

Anterior longitudinal ligament

The anterior longitudinal ligament is a ligament that runs down the anterior surface of the spine. It traverses all of the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs.

Quadratus lumborum muscle muscle in the lower back

The quadratus lumborum is a muscle of the posterior abdominal wall. It is the deepest abdominal muscle and commonly referred to as a back muscle. It is irregular and quadrilateral in shape and broader below than above.

Thoracolumbar fascia Thoracolumbar fascia.JPG
Thoracolumbar fascia

See also

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Abdominal external oblique muscle

The external oblique muscle is the largest and the outermost of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen.

Erector spinae muscles

The erector spinae or spinal erectors is a set of muscles that straighten and rotate the back.


The longissimus is the muscle lateral to the semispinalis muscles. It is the longest subdivision of the erector spinae muscles that extends forward into the transverse processes of the posterior cervical vertebrae.

Transversalis fascia

The transversalis fascia is a thin aponeurotic membrane which lies between the inner surface of the transverse abdominal muscle and the parietal peritoneum.

Deep cervical fascia

The deep cervical fascia lies under cover of the platysma, and invests the muscles of the neck; it also forms sheaths for the carotid vessels, and for the structures situated in front of the vertebral column. Its attachment to the hyoid bone prevents the formation of a dewlap.

Iliac crest

The crest of the ilium is the superior border of the wing of ilium and the superiolateral margin of the greater pelvis.

Fascia of Camper

The fascia of Camper is a thick superficial layer of the anterior abdominal wall.

Iliolumbar ligament

The iliolumbar ligament is a strong ligament passing from the tip of the transverse process of the fifth lumbar vertebra to the posterior part of the inner lip of the iliac crest.

Posterior longitudinal ligament

The posterior longitudinal ligament is situated within the vertebral canal, and extends along the posterior surfaces of the bodies of the vertebrae, from the body of the axis, where it is continuous with the tectorial membrane of atlanto-axial joint, to the sacrum.

Internal vertebral venous plexuses

The internal vertebral venous plexuses lie within the vertebral canal in the epidural space, and receive tributaries from the bones and from the spinal cord.

Rectus sheath

The rectus sheath, also called the rectus fascia, is formed by the aponeuroses of the transverse abdominal and the external and internal oblique muscles. It contains the rectus abdominis and pyramidalis muscles.

Prevertebral fascia

The prevertebral fascia is a fascia in the neck.

The lumbar fascia is an anatomic structure of the lumbar region. It consists of a band or sheet of connective tissue fibres, primarily collagen, that attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates muscles not limited to the lumbar region as the name suggests, but extending upwards over the thorax to the neck and downwards over the muscles covering the sacrum. The upper thoracic portion is thin while the lumbar and sacral regions are thicker and stronger.

Outline of human anatomy scientific study of the morphology of the human body

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to human anatomy:

Pelvis lower part of the trunk of the human body between the abdomen and the thighs (sometimes also called pelvic region of the trunk

The pelvis is either the lower part of the trunk of the human body between the abdomen and the thighs or the skeleton embedded in it.


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 397 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.

<i>Grays Anatomy</i> English-language textbook of human anatomy

Gray's Anatomy is an English language textbook of human anatomy originally written by Henry Gray and illustrated by Henry Vandyke Carter. Earlier editions were called Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical and Gray's Anatomy: Descriptive and Applied, but the book's name is commonly shortened to, and later editions are titled, Gray's Anatomy. The book is widely regarded as an extremely influential work on the subject, and has continued to be revised and republished from its initial publication in 1858 to the present day. The latest edition of the book, the 41st, was published in September 2015.