Anatomical research

Since the publication of the Fabrica mid 1500, knowledge concerning the anatomy and physiology of the human body has increased steadily. At our anatomical facility, we try to gain insight in some of the areas in human anatomy.

Research topics

The characterization of intestinofugal neurons in human esophagus projecting to the trachea

Traditionally the trachea and esophagus have been considered as two separate anatomical, physiological and medical entities. Although many articles discuss presume a centrally mediated pathway, animal studies reported a direct neuronal link between esophagus and trachea. We started a study to demonstrate the presence of intestinofugal neurons in human esophagus and to neurochemically characterize these neurons using immunofluorescence and retrograde tracing. 

The relation between the extensor hallucis capsularis and hallux valgus pathology

The extensor hallucis capsularis (EHC) is an accessory tendon arising off the extensor hallucis longus (EHL) muscle roughly at the height of the ankle. Its function is unknown, although this tendon has been implied in the pathogenesis of hallux valgus. We try to unravel the link between the EHC and hallux pathology, especially hallux valgus.

Femoral vein multiplicity: prevalence, anatomical patterns and characteristics

The presence of femoral vein multiplicity has potential influence in the misdiagnosis of deep venous thrombosis and its complication, i.e., pulmonary embolism.  Also, femoral veins are suitable vascular substitutes, especially in the substitution of infected prosthetic grafts. The objective of this study is to describe the prevalence, anatomic patterns and characteristics of femoral vein multiplicity including fenestrations in adult humans.

Spatial mapping of the origin-region of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on clavicle and sternum

Sternoclavicular joint dislocations account for 3% of all injuries to the shoulder girdle. Although the majority of these injuries result in an anteriorly directed dislocation, it is the less common posterior sternoclavicular joint dislocation that carries the greatest risk to the patient and at times is life threatening. A variety of operative procedures exist to treat sternoclavicular dislocations, including resection of the medial clavicle, causing complications for the patient postoperatively like pain, instability or decrease in range of motion. The part that is to be resected, is empirically defined (i.e., 1.5 cm). Therefore we started an anatomical study to map the origin-region of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on clavicle and sternum. These data will be used to unravel if the resected part can be reduced.

Role of the purinergic signaling in the pathophysiology of human chronic upper airway inflammation

In this study we examined the putative changed expression of purinergic receptors in the human nasal mucosa during inflammation, i.e., rhinitis and chronic rhinosinusitis with and without nasal polyps using immunofluorescence.








Secretariat of Human Anatomy and Embryology Campus Drie Eiken, Gebouw T
Universiteitsplein 1
2610 WILRIJK (Antwerpen)
Tel. +32 3 265 28 28