noun, plural: sclerotomes
(embryology) The somite that gives rise to the development of vertebrae and ribs
(surgery) The knife used in performing sclerotomy
In embryology, the term sclerotome refers to any of the paired block-like segments of the mesoderm alongside the neural tube. In vertebrates, the somites split into three major regions: dermatome, myotome, and sclerotome. While the dermatome gives rise to the skin and the myotome, to the muscle, the sclerotome is the region that ultimately gives rise to the vertebrae of the vertebral column, rib cage, and part of the occipital bone. The cells in the sclerotome region are the first to differentiate. As such, the dermatome and the myotome are initially referred to as dermomyotome.
In surgical procedure, the term sclerotome is an instrument (knife) used for sclerotomy (an incision through the sclera). The sclera is the the tough, white outer coat of the eyeball. An incision of the anterior chamber of the eye is referred to as anterior sclerotomy whereas the incision into the vitreus through the sclera is called posterior sclerotomy. The anterior sclerotomy is done usually for treating glaucoma. The posterior sclerotomy is done to correct the detachment of the retina or for removing foreign object in the retina.