Langer's lines are lines of tension in the dermis, which affect healing after surgical incision. Cuts across the lines tend to pull apart, with concommitant tendency toward tissue distortion and scarring, more so than do cuts parallel to the lines.
Diagram above by Karl Langer, from a recent translation of Langer's 1861 original description of Langer's lines:
(In "On the anatomy and physiology of the skin I. The cleavability of the cutis," British Journal of Plastic Surgery, v. 31 pp. 3-8, 1978; translated from Langer, K. (1861). Zur Anatomie und Physiologie der Haut. I. Uber die Spalt-barkeit der Cutis. Sitzungsbericht der Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Classe der Kaiserlichen Academic der Wissenschaften, v. 44, p. 19.)
More on Langer's lines, from Wikipedia.
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SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King
Last updated: 29 July 2022 / dgk