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Loose Connective Tissue
Scalp, Calvaria, and Meninges

Loose Connective Tissue

Textus connectivus laxus

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Quick Facts

Loose connective tissue is a type of connective tissue in which the interlacing collagen and elastin fibers are not tightly packed; it provides connections between adjacent structures but allows them to move independently; it also has a greater density of cells and vessels than dense connective tissue (Dorland, 2011).

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The loose connective tissue is the fourth layer of the scalp. It is composed of a thin layer of loose fibroareolar tissue that contains a network of reticular and elastic fibers and collagen. It is loosely bound to the overlying epicranial aponeurosis, which accounts for the mobility of the scalp over the underlying calvaria.

Emissary veins traverse the loose connective tissue layer of the scalp and, along with the diploic veins, connect the intracranial dural sinuses with the extracranial veins. The loose connective tissue is often called the subaponeurotic space, or “danger space,” since localized infections within this layer have the potential to spread intracranially (Thompson and Yeung, 2016). The subaponeurotic space is limited anteriorly by the frontal belly and posteriorly by the occipital belly of the occipitofrontalis muscle.

Key Features/Anatomical Relations

The loose connective tissue of the scalp separated the epicranial aponeurosis from the pericranium of the calvaria.


The loose connective tissue of the scalp allows the scalp proper (the skin, superficial fascia, and epicranial aponeurosis) to glide over the calvaria.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Scalp lacerations

—Scalp infections

—Subgaleal hemorrhage


—Brain abscess


Dorland, W. (2011) Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd edn. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier Saunders.

Thompson, S. H. and Yeung, A. Y. (2016) 'Anatomy Relevant to Head, Neck, and Orofacial Infections', in Hupp, J.R. and Ferneini, E.M. (eds.) Head, Neck, and Orofacial Infections. St. Louis: Elsevier, pp. 60-93.

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