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What Is the Pectoral Fascia?

The pectoral fascia is a thin layer of tissue that covers the pectoralis major and minor muscles.
An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including the pectoralis major.
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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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The pectoral fascia is a thin layer of tissue that covers the pectoralis major and minor muscles. Its function is to wrap the two muscles and allow them to glide smoothly when contracting. The effects of the pectoral fascia can clearly be seen in the hollow of the armpit, which is caused by the fascia attachment in this area.

A fascia is a thin layer of tissue that is found all over the human body. It helps to connect muscles, blood vessels and other structures in the body. It also holds parts of the body together as if they are wrapped. There are several different layers of fascia, including the superficial fascia, which is found at the top level of the tissue, and the deep fascia, which is farther inside the body. The various types of fascia are all thought to provide a similar function, which is to transmit the tension in muscles throughout the body with a minimal amount of friction.

The pectoral muscle, like other muscles, has a fascia surrounding it. This is known as the pectoral fascia, and it is important for transmitting the force of the pectoral muscle. It also is smooth, allowing the pectoralis muscle to smoothly glide over surrounding tissue.

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There are some who believe the fascia is able to contract independently of the muscle. This, in the case of the pectoral fascia, could allow the fascia to affect how the muscle behaves and reacts. Whether this is true has not been conclusively proven as of 2011.

The pectoral fascia is attached to several bones, including the sternum, which is found in the center of the rib cage, and the clavicle, which also is known as the collar bone. From there it covers the entire surface of the pectoralis major muscle. At the edge of the pectoralis major, the fascia splits in two so that it can cover the pectoralis minor muscle.

Although the pectoral muscle fascia isn’t found on the surface of the body and, thus, can’t be seen directly, it is possible to see its effects. When the arm is moved away from the body, the armpit appears to have a small hollow. This is caused by the pectoral fascia pulling at the tissue in the armpit, which creates a hollow. For this reason, the pectoral fascia is sometimes known as the “suspensory ligament of the axilla,” with axilla referring to the area of the armpit.

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