What are dermatomes?

Updated: Oct 13, 2017
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Thomas R Gest, PhD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The surface of the skin is divided into specific areas called dermatomes, which are derived from the cells of a somite. These cells differentiate into the following 3 regions: (1) myotome, which forms some of the skeletal muscle; (2) dermatome, which forms the connective tissues, including the dermis; and (3) sclerotome, which gives rise to the vertebrae. A dermatome is an area of skin in which sensory nerves derive from a single spinal nerve root (see the following image).

Dermatomes of the head, face, and neck. Dermatomes of the head, face, and neck.

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