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Etymology 1 n. An instrument used surgically to remove a thin slice of skin for grafting Etymology 2

n. 1 An area of skin which is innervated by afferent nerve fibers coming to a single posterior spinal root 2 The cutis plate.


n. a surgical instrument used to cut very thin slices of skin


Dermatome may refer to:

  • Dermatome (anatomy), an area of skin that is supplied by a single pair of dorsal roots
  • Dermatome (instrument), a surgical instrument used to produce thin slices of skin
  • Dermatome, the portion of the embryonic paraxial mesoderm, the somite, which gives rise to dermis
Dermatome (anatomy)

A dermatome is an area of skin that is mainly supplied by a single spinal nerve. There are 8 cervical nerves (C1 being an exception with no dermatome), 12 thoracic nerves, 5 lumbar nerves and 5 sacral nerves. Each of these nerves relays sensation (including pain) from a particular region of skin to the brain.

A dermatome also refers to the part of an embryonic somite.

Along the thorax and abdomen the dermatomes are like a stack of discs forming a human, each supplied by a different spinal nerve. Along the arms and the legs, the pattern is different: the dermatomes run longitudinally along the limbs. Although the general pattern is similar in all people, the precise areas of innervation are as unique to an individual as fingerprints.

A similar area innervated by peripheral nerves is called a peripheral nerve field.

Dermatome (instrument)

A dermatome is a surgical instrument used to produce thin slices of skin from a donor area, in order to use them for making skin grafts. One of its main applications is for reconstituting skin areas damaged by grade 3 burns or trauma.

Dermatomes can be operated either manually or electrically. The first drum dermatomes, developed in the 1930s, were manually operated. Afterwards, dermatomes which were operated by air pressure, such as the Brown dermatome, achieved higher speed and precision. Electrical dermatomes are better for cutting out thinner and longer strips of skin with a more homogeneous thickness.