The Subcutis (Subcutaneous Fatty Tissue)
The subcutis (sub = under; cutis = skin/Lat.) is the fatty tissue below the skin. It consists of spongy connective tissue interspersed with energy-storing adipocytes (fat cells).
Formation and function of the subcutis
Fat cell clusters
Fat cells are grouped together in large cushion-like clusters held in place by collagen fibres called connective tissue septa or sheaths.
Nourishment, insulation and padding
The subcutis is heavily interlaced with blood vessels, ensuring quick delivery of stored nutrients as needed. The functions carried out by the subcutaneous fatty tissue (i), apart from storage of nutrients in the form of liquid fats (i), include insulation of the body from the cold and shock absorption. On the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and the buttocks the fat padding is almost exclusively for shock absorption.
Fat distribution in men and women
The fat content of the subcutis is not the same in all body regions. Also men and women differ in the distribution of subcutaneous fat. For example, cellulite – due to a special arrangement of the subcutaneous fat tissue septa and preferential fat storage on the hips, thighs and buttocks - occurs mostly in women. Men on the other hand tend to store fat on the torso.