History of Neurology
January 2003

The History of Dermatome Mapping

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuromuscular Disease, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.




Copyright 2003 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2003

Arch Neurol. 2003;60(1):126-131. doi:10.1001/archneur.60.1.126

Dermatome maps are commonly used in clinical neurology. These maps are valuable for the localization of varied sensory phenomena in patients with neurological disorders. The methods used in the construction of the classic maps by Sir Henry Head, Sir Charles Sherrington, Otfrid Foerster, and Jay Keegan and Frederic Garrett are of historical interest and are relevant to the current understanding of dermatome anatomy and physiology. In particular, the work of Derek Denny-Brown and his colleagues demonstrates that patterns of dermatomal sensory loss depend on the anatomical and physiological characteristics of large regions of nervous tissue, multiple adjacent dorsal ganglia, and the nearby caudal and rostral spinal cord.