The key difference between superficial and deep fascia is that the superficial fascia is between the skin and muscle, while the deep fascia is between muscles.
Fascia is an important structure in our body. It provides a framework for all connective tissues. We find fascia everywhere in our body, from head to toe without interruption. A fibrous connective tissue makes the fascia. Moreover, there are loosely packed collagen bundles in the fascia. There are three different kinds of fascia as superficial fascia, deep fascia and visceral fascia. Superficial fascia lies just beneath the skin while deep fascia is a fibrous membrane that surrounds each and every muscle in our body and separate muscle groups into compartments. Considering the importance of these two fasciae, this article discusses the difference between superficial and deep fascia.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Superficial Fascia
3. What is Deep Fascia
4. Similarities Between Superficial and Deep Fascia
5. Side by Side Comparison – Superficial vs Deep Fascia in Tabular Form
What is Superficial Fascia?
Superficial fascia is one of the three types of fascia in our body. It lies beneath the dermis of the skin. In fact, it is the lowermost layer of the skin. Furthermore, it consists of loose connective tissue and adipose tissue. As it possesses collagen and elastin fibres, superficial fascia is more extensible than the other two fasciae. Superficial fascia has two layers: the top layer and bottom layer. The top layer is a fatty layer which stores fat while dep layer or bottom layer of superficial fascia lies just above the deep fascia. Arteries, veins, nerves, lymph vessels and nodes run through this bottom layer of the superficial fascia.
Moreover, superficial fascia fulfils several functions. It works as a storage tissue of water and fat. Furthermore, it acts as an insulation layer. It also provides pathways to nerves and blood vessels. Not only that, it protects the internal structures from mechanical damages, providing protective padding. Most importantly, superficial fascia is responsible for creating the shape of the body.
What is Deep Fascia?
Deep fascia is the most extensive of the three types of fascia. It consists of dense connective tissue. Thus, it is a fibrous layer that surrounds individual muscles and groups muscles into functional compartments. Similar to the superficial fascia, deep fascia also contains high dense collagen and elastin fibres. But, the deep fascia is less extensible than the superficial fascia.
Deep fascia provides an extra surface for muscle attachment. Moreover, it keeps the underlying structures in position in our body. Furthermore, deep fascia helps muscles in their action by tolerating tension and pressure.
What are the Similarities Between Superficial and Deep Fascia?
- Superficial and deep fascia are two of the three types of fascia.
- They are similar to ligaments and tendons in the structural components.
- Also, both types are composed of connective tissue containing bundles of collagen and elastin fibres.
- Collagen fibres are designated in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull in both fasciae.
- Besides, both fasciae are flexible and able to resist great forces with unidirectional tension.
What is the Difference Between Superficial and Deep Fascia?
Superficial and deep fascia are two types of fascia found in our body. Superficial fascia lies beneath the skin while deep fascia lies beneath the superficial fascia. So, this is the key difference between superficial and deep fascia.
Moreover, a further difference between superficial and deep fascia is that the superficial fascia contains loose connective tissue, while the deep fascia contains dense connective tissue. Besides, superficial fascia contains fat, while deep fascia does not contain fat. Therefore, we can consider this too as a difference between superficial and deep fascia.
Summary – Superficial vs Deep Fascia
A fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding those structures together. There are three types of fascia: superficial fascia, deep fascia, and subserous (or visceral) fascia. Superficial fascia lies beneath the skin while deep fascia lies beneath the superficial fascia between the muscles. Superficial fascia primarily determines the shape of the body while deep fascia surrounds and protects all muscles and organs. However, superficial fascia contains fat, while deep fascia does not contain fat. Thus, this summarizes the difference between superficial and deep fascia.
1. “Superficial Fascia.” Superficial Fascia – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, Available here.
2. Gatt, Adrianna. “Anatomy, Skin, Fascias.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Oct. 2018, Available here.
1. “Gray395” By Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See “Book” section below)Bartleby.com: Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 395 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia