Tensile transmission across the lumbar fasciae in unembalmed cadavers: effects of tension to various muscular attachments

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Jan 15;29(2):129-38. doi: 10.1097/01.BRS.0000107005.62513.32.


Study design: Traction was applied to muscles attaching to the posterior and middle layers of lumbar fascia (PLF, MLF). Effects on fasciae were determined via tensile force measures and movement of markers.

Objectives: To document tensile transmission to the PLF and MLF when traction was applied to latissimus dorsi (LD), gluteus maximus (GM), external and internal oblique (EO, IO), and transversus abdominis (TrA) in unembalmed cadavers.

Summary of background data: A previous study on embalmed cadavers applied traction to muscle attachments while monitoring fascial movement but did not test TrA or the MLF.

Methods: The PLF and MLF were dissected then marked on eight unembalmed cadavers. A strain gauge was inserted through fascia at L3; 10N traction was applied to each muscle attachment while photographs and tension measures were taken. Movement of fascial markers was detected photographically. Fascial widths were also measured.

Results: Tension was clearly transmitted to fascial vertebral attachments. Tensile forces and fascial areas affected were highest for traction on LD and TrA in the PLF and for TrA in the MLF. Movement of PLF markers from tension on LD and TrA occurred bilaterally between T12 and S1. Effects from other muscles were variably bilateral, with those from GM and IO occurring below L3 and those from EO occurring above L3. Tensile forces were relatively high in the MLF and its width was less than half that of the PLF.

Conclusions: Low levels of tension are effectively transmitted between TrA and the MLF or PLF. Via them, TrA may influence intersegmental movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver*
  • Dissection
  • Fascia / pathology
  • Fascia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbosacral Region
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Mechanical