open access

Vol 65, No 1 (2006)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2005-12-05
Submitted: 2012-02-06
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Iliolumbar membrane, a newly recognised structure in the back

M. Loukas, R.G. Louis Jr., B. Van der Wall, B. Hallner, J.J. Tucker, F. Esguerra, G.L. Colborn
Folia Morphol 2006;65(1):15-21.

open access

Vol 65, No 1 (2006)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2005-12-05
Submitted: 2012-02-06

Abstract

Despite intensive research in the anatomical sciences for the last two centuries, some structures of the human body still remain controversial or incompletely described.
We describe a new membranous fascial anatomical entity, which we refer to as the iliolumbar membrane (ILM). During the 2004-2005 academic semesters at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine we dissected 40 human cadavers fixed in formalin-alcohol-phenol solution. Iliolumbar membrane is a thick connective tissue structure, deep to the skin, originating from the fibres of the thoracolumbar fascia at the lateral border of the erector spinae. It runs inferior to the superior border of the iliac crest, lateral to the posterior superior iliac spine, overlying the iliac crest at the level of the 4th lumbar vertebra. Iliolumbar membrane terminates within subcutaneous fat, where it divides into multiple layers. All cadavers showed considerable variation in the blending of the membrane’s multiple layers with the subcutaneous fat. However, all specimens consistently showed a uniform appearance of ILM at the point of origin. Iliolumbar membrane could be demonstrated objectively by ultrasound examination with a frequency of 7.5 MHz and also with a Stryker endoscope. A hypothesis is put forth, conjecturing that this new structure may have relevance in creating a natural barrier between the musculature of the back and the muscles of the gluteal region, similar to Scarpa’s fascia of the anterior abdominal wall.

Abstract

Despite intensive research in the anatomical sciences for the last two centuries, some structures of the human body still remain controversial or incompletely described.
We describe a new membranous fascial anatomical entity, which we refer to as the iliolumbar membrane (ILM). During the 2004-2005 academic semesters at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine we dissected 40 human cadavers fixed in formalin-alcohol-phenol solution. Iliolumbar membrane is a thick connective tissue structure, deep to the skin, originating from the fibres of the thoracolumbar fascia at the lateral border of the erector spinae. It runs inferior to the superior border of the iliac crest, lateral to the posterior superior iliac spine, overlying the iliac crest at the level of the 4th lumbar vertebra. Iliolumbar membrane terminates within subcutaneous fat, where it divides into multiple layers. All cadavers showed considerable variation in the blending of the membrane’s multiple layers with the subcutaneous fat. However, all specimens consistently showed a uniform appearance of ILM at the point of origin. Iliolumbar membrane could be demonstrated objectively by ultrasound examination with a frequency of 7.5 MHz and also with a Stryker endoscope. A hypothesis is put forth, conjecturing that this new structure may have relevance in creating a natural barrier between the musculature of the back and the muscles of the gluteal region, similar to Scarpa’s fascia of the anterior abdominal wall.
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Keywords

thoracolumbar fascia; erector spinae muscles; gluteal region; iliac crest; low back pain; posterior superior iliac spine; lumbar hernia; cluneal nerve

About this article
Title

Iliolumbar membrane, a newly recognised structure in the back

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 65, No 1 (2006)

Pages

15-21

Published online

2005-12-05

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2006;65(1):15-21.

Keywords

thoracolumbar fascia
erector spinae muscles
gluteal region
iliac crest
low back pain
posterior superior iliac spine
lumbar hernia
cluneal nerve

Authors

M. Loukas
R.G. Louis Jr.
B. Van der Wall
B. Hallner
J.J. Tucker
F. Esguerra
G.L. Colborn

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