A myotome is the group of muscles that a single spinal nerve root innervates. Similarly a dermatome is an area of skin that a single nerve innervates. In vertebrate embryonic development, a myotome is the part of a somite that develops into the muscles.
The anatomical term myotome which describes the muscles served by a spinal nerve root, is also used in embryology to describe that part of the somite which develops into the muscles.[ In anatomy the myotome is the motor equivalent of a dermatome.
Each muscle in the body is supplied by a one or more levels or segments of the spinal cord and by their corresponding spinal nerves. A group of muscles innervated by the motor fibres of a single nerve root is known as a myotome.
In humans myotome testing can be an integral part of neurological examination as each nerve root coming from the spinal cord supplies a specific group of muscles. Testing of myotomes, in the form of isometric resisted muscle testing, provides the clinician with information about the level in the spine where a lesion may be present. During myotome testing, the clinician is looking for muscle weakness of a particular group of muscles. Results may indicate lesion to the spinal cord nerve root, or intervertebral disc herniation pressing on the spinal nerve roots.