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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the anatomical position
  • Describe the human body using directional and regional terms
  • Identify three planes most commonly used in the study of anatomy
  • Distinguish between the posterior (dorsal) and the anterior (ventral) body cavities, identifying their subdivisions and representative organs found in each
  • Describe serous membrane and explain its function

Anatomists and health care providers use terminology that can be bewildering to the uninitiated. However, the purpose of this language is not to confuse, but rather to increase precision and reduce medical errors. For example, is a scar “above the wrist” located on the forearm two or three inches away from the hand? Or is it at the base of the hand? Is it on the palm-side or back-side? By using precise anatomical terminology, we eliminate ambiguity. Anatomical terms derive from ancient Greek and Latin words. Because these languages are no longer used in everyday conversation, the meaning of their words does not change.

Anatomical terms are made up of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The root of a term often refers to an organ, tissue, or condition, whereas the prefix or suffix often describes the root. For example, in the disorder hypertension, the prefix “hyper-” means “high” or “over,” and the root word “tension” refers to pressure, so the word “hypertension” refers to abnormally high blood pressure.

Anatomical position

To further increase precision, anatomists standardize the way in which they view the body. Just as maps are normally oriented with north at the top, the standard body “map,” or anatomical position    , is that of the body standing upright, with the feet at shoulder width and parallel, toes forward. The upper limbs are held out to each side, and the palms of the hands face forward as illustrated in [link] . Using this standard position reduces confusion. It does not matter how the body being described is oriented, the terms are used as if it is in anatomical position. For example, a scar in the “anterior (front) carpal (wrist) region” would be present on the palm side of the wrist. The term “anterior” would be used even if the hand were palm down on a table.

Regions of the human body

This illustration shows an anterior and posterior view of the human body. The cranial region encompasses the upper part of the head while the facial region encompasses the lower half of the head beginning below the ears. The eyes are referred to as the ocular region. The cheeks are referred to as the buccal region. The ears are referred to as the auricle or otic region. The nose is referred to as the nasal region. The chin is referred to as the mental region. The neck is referred to as the cervical region. The trunk of the body contains, from superior to inferior, the thoracic region encompassing the chest, the mammary region encompassing each breast, the abdominal region encompassing the stomach area, the coxal region encompassing the belt line, and the pubic region encompassing the area above the genitals. The umbilicus, or naval, is located at the center of the abdomen. The pelvis and legs contain, from superior to inferior, the inguinal or groin region between the legs and the genitals, the pubic region surrounding the genitals, the femoral region encompassing the thighs, the patellar region encompassing the knee, the crural region encompassing the lower leg, the tarsal region encompassing the ankle, the pedal region encompassing the foot and the digital/phalangeal region encompassing the toes. The great toe is referred to as the hallux. The regions of the upper limbs, from superior to inferior, are the axillary region encompassing the armpit, the brachial region encompassing the upper arm, the antecubital region encompassing the front of the elbow, the antebrachial region encompassing the forearm, the carpal region encompassing the wrist, the palmar region encompassing the palm, and the digital/phalangeal region encompassing the fingers. The thumb is referred to as the pollux. The posterior view contains, from superior to inferior, the cervical region encompassing the neck, the dorsal region encompassing the upper back and the lumbar region encompassing the lower back. The regions of the back of the arms, from superior to inferior, include the cervical region encompassing the neck, acromial region encompassing the shoulder, the brachial region encompassing the upper arm, the olecranal region encompassing the back of the elbow, the antebrachial region encompasses the back of the arm, and the manual region encompassing the palm of the hand. The posterior regions of the legs, from superior to inferior, include the gluteal region encompassing the buttocks, the femoral region encompassing the thigh, the popliteus region encompassing the back of the knee, the sural region encompassing the back of the lower leg, and the plantar region encompassing the sole of the foot. Some regions are combined into larger regions. These include the trunk, which is a combination of the thoracic, mammary, abdominal, naval, and coxal regions. The cephalic region is a combination of all of the head regions. The upper limb region is a combination of all of the arm regions. The lower limb region is a combination of all of the leg regions.
The human body is shown in anatomical position in an (a) anterior view and a (b) posterior view. The regions of the body are labeled in boldface.

A body that is lying down is described as either prone or supine. Prone describes a face-down orientation, and supine    describes a face up orientation. These terms are sometimes used in describing the position of the body during specific physical examinations or surgical procedures.

Regional terms

The human body’s numerous regions have specific terms to help increase precision (see [link] ). Notice that the term “brachium” or “arm” is reserved for the “upper arm” and “antebrachium” or “forearm” is used rather than “lower arm.” Similarly, “femur” or “thigh” is correct, and “leg” or “crus” is reserved for the portion of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle. You will be able to describe the body’s regions using the terms from the figure.

Questions & Answers

pathophysiology of pneumonia
Jane Reply
what is anatomy
Ejiofor Reply
The study of the body parts
Joyce
Study of structure of living things eg humans
Nasreen
what's anatomy
Fetia Reply
it is the scientific study of human body structures.
Ahmad
What's ovulation ?
godknows Reply
Ovulation is the release of eggs from the ovaries. In women, this event occurs when the ovarian follicles rupture and release the secondary oocyte ovarian cells.
Nasriya
Ovulation is the release of eggs from ovaries
Malina
how long vagina is
Antony Reply
approximately 10 cm
Edrick
Muscle is a connective tissue
Benard Reply
sure?
Deds
you're right intramuscular connective tissue formed by the 3 layers of the muscle
Deds
hi tanks
Abdulhaq
Hi , please good night how was everyone, please am first year mbbs
Mercy
I like to share with...?”
Sengiyumva
hi
Hawah
hello
Adejumo
what muscles
Rukayya Reply
what is anatomy
Ayomide Reply
is the study of body parts
zaituni
Anatomy is a science that deals with the study of human parts and animals.
godknows
Anatomy is the study of the branch of biology concerned with the structure of the organisms and their parts
Malina
what is a kidney
Sailuba Reply
The kidney is an organ whose function is primarily for excretion of extra fluids as wastes.
Nasriya
Yeah your collect
Isack
and ions e.g potassium, sodium, phosphates etc
Meshack
yes nasriya
Bpagan
what is physiology
Rukayya
hello all🤚🤚
Rukayya
i think its the study of all of the processes in a living thing and how they relate to eachother.
Kory
Hello scholars
am
hi friends what is heart
aminu
heart is hollow muscular organ responsible bumping of blood our body
Caisho
what is muscle and the type
aminu
muscles is acontractile tissue found in animals
Caisho
types of muscle are three smooth muscle cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle
Caisho
what is the difference between microscopic and macroscopic
Sofeme Reply
Microscopic mean the use of microscope during investigation of sample & macroscopic means observing by using eyes (physically)
Isack
what is nervous system
Marvelous Reply
what are the ten crenial nerves
Taqiyya Reply
what are the differences between endocrine system and nervous system
Taqiyya
okay
surajo
what is ovulation
Patience Reply
is lebour
Hassan
is the release of a mature ovum from the ovarian follicle in to the fallopian ovum
Augustine
Ovulation
Isack
The answer is ovulation
Isack
1. To know the structure and functions of the internal body system. 2. To be able to treat internal diseases like brain tumor and fracture of the bones. 3. To be able to differentiate between gross and microscopic anatomy
Idara Reply
I am fershe i can't speak this topic
Kale Reply
is an easy topic just try reading it over again
Idara

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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