Fetal development of the human trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles
At present, there is no photographic evidence of splitting of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCMs), which share a common anlage that extends caudally toward the limb bud in the embryo at a length of 9 mm. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to identify which structures divide the caudal end of the common anlage at the first sign of splitting into two muscles. In 11 mm-long specimens, the SCM and trapezius muscles were identified as a single mesenchymal condensation. In 15 and 18 mm-long specimens, the SCM and trapezius muscles were separated and extended posteriorly and lymphatic tissues appeared in a primitive lateral cervical space surrounded by the SCM (anterior). In 21 mm-long specimens, the lymphatic vessels were dilated and the accompanying afferents were forming connections with the subcutaneous tissue through a space between the SCM and trapezius muscles. In 27 mm-long specimens, cutaneous lymphatic vessels were evident and had entered the deep tissue between the SCM and trapezius muscles. Vascular dilation may be viewed as a result of less mechanical stress or pressure after muscle splitting.
Materials and Methods
Conflicts of Interest