What is the clinical significance of dermatomes anatomy?

Updated: Oct 13, 2017
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Thomas R Gest, PhD  more...
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Dermatomes are useful to help localize neurologic levels, particularly in radiculopathy. Effacement or encroachment of a spinal nerve may or may not exhibit symptoms in the dermatomic area covered by the compressed nerve roots in addition to weakness, or deep tendon reflex loss.

Viruses that infect spinal nerves, such as herpes zoster infections (shingles), can reveal their origin by showing up as a painful dermatomic area. Herpes zoster, a virus that can be dormant in the dorsal root ganglion, migrates along the spinal nerve to affect only the area of skin served by that nerve

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