Dissections on 8 fresh and 10 embalmed cadavers were used to determine the anatomy of the subcutaneous adipose tissue in the trunk and extremities. These dissections, along with CT scans, confirmed Gray’s original description of the subcutaneous tissue consisting of a superficial and deep adipose layer. The superficial adipose layer is contained within organized, compact fascial septa. The deep adipose layer demonstrated regional variations with respect to its fascial framework, but was contained within a relatively loose, less organized, and more widely spaced fascial septa. We observed that the adipose layers are partitioned by a discrete subcutaneous fascia which fuses with the underlying muscle fascia at particular anatomic locations. The deep layer is thus contained by the subcutaneous fascia above and the muscle fascia below to form what we termed the deep adipose compartments. The deep adipose compartments contributed significantly to overall adipose thickness, are bilateral, and are found in the abdomen and paralumbar and gluteal-thigh regions.
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