Dermatoglyphics: Introduction

Dermatoglyphics: Introduction

Intermediate pad (steep radial side)

Loop (ulnar)

Cross section through finger

Cross section through finger

Low pad


Figure 12.2 Relation of pad height and dermatoglyphic pattern. From Mulvihill and Smith (1969), by permission.

by the sixth month of gestation. In the palms, the pattern of flexion creases appears to be influenced by the size of the pads in the thenar and hypothenar areas, the length of the bones, and intrauterine movement. The flexion creases of the palm do not all develop at the same time but from between the 8th and 13th weeks and are well defined by 13 weeks. They may consist of separate segments that later join (Fig. 12.3).

Strictly speaking, dermatoglyphics is the study of the epidermal ridge pattern of the skin but, in general use, both the epidermal ridge patterns and flexion creases are discussed together. They reflect structures and relationships that were present at the time they were forming. The epidermal ridge dermatoglyphic pattern consists of ridges (cristae superficiales) and grooves (sulci cutanei). A wide range of normal variation can be seen among dermal ridge patterns. The main patterns on the fingertips are

Figure 12.3 Flexion creases in the hand of a 10-week old embryo. From Martin and Saller (1962), by permission.

described as arch, loop, and whorl (Fig. 12.2). Pattern variation is also seen in the thenar and hypothenar area.

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