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Directional terms

Certain directional anatomical terms appear throughout this and any other anatomy textbook ( [link] ). These terms are essential for describing the relative locations of different body structures. For instance, an anatomist might describe one band of tissue as “inferior to” another or a physician might describe a tumor as “superficial to” a deeper body structure. Commit these terms to memory to avoid confusion when you are studying or describing the locations of particular body parts.

  • Anterior (or ventral    ) Describes the front or direction toward the front of the body. The toes are anterior to the foot.
  • Posterior (or dorsal    ) Describes the back or direction toward the back of the body. The popliteus is posterior to the patella.
  • Superior (or cranial    ) describes a position above or higher than another part of the body proper. The orbits are superior to the oris.
  • Inferior (or caudal    ) describes a position below or lower than another part of the body proper; near or toward the tail (in humans, the coccyx, or lowest part of the spinal column). The pelvis is inferior to the abdomen.
  • Lateral describes the side or direction toward the side of the body. The thumb (pollex) is lateral to the digits.
  • Medial describes the middle or direction toward the middle of the body. The hallux is the medial toe.
  • Proximal describes a position in a limb that is nearer to the point of attachment or the trunk of the body. The brachium is proximal to the antebrachium.
  • Distal describes a position in a limb that is farther from the point of attachment or the trunk of the body. The crus is distal to the femur.
  • Superficial describes a position closer to the surface of the body. The skin is superficial to the bones.
  • Deep describes a position farther from the surface of the body. The brain is deep to the skull.

Directional terms applied to the human body

This illustration shows two diagrams: one of a side view of a female and the other of an anterior view of a female. Each diagram shows directional terms using double-sided arrows. The cranial-distal arrow runs vertically behind the torso and lower abdomen. The cranial arrow is pointing toward the head while the caudal arrow is pointing toward the tail bone. The posterior/anterior arrow is running horizontally through the back and chest. The posterior or dorsal arrow is pointing toward the back while the anterior, or ventral arrow, is pointing toward the abdomen. On the anterior view, the proximal/distal arrow is on the right arm. The proximal arrow is pointing up toward the shoulder while the distal arrow is pointing down toward the hand. The lateral-medial arrow is a horizontal arrow on the abdomen. The medial arrow is pointing toward the navel while the lateral arrow is pointing away from the body to the right. Right refers to the right side of the woman’s body from her perspective while left refers to the left side of the woman’s body from her perspective.
Paired directional terms are shown as applied to the human body.

Body planes

A section    is a two-dimensional surface of a three-dimensional structure that has been cut. Modern medical imaging devices enable clinicians to obtain “virtual sections” of living bodies. We call these scans. Body sections and scans can be correctly interpreted, however, only if the viewer understands the plane along which the section was made. A plane    is an imaginary two-dimensional surface that passes through the body. There are three planes commonly referred to in anatomy and medicine, as illustrated in [link] .

  • The sagittal plane    is the plane that divides the body or an organ vertically into right and left sides. If this vertical plane runs directly down the middle of the body, it is called the midsagittal or median plane. If it divides the body into unequal right and left sides, it is called a parasagittal plane or less commonly a longitudinal section.
  • The frontal plane    is the plane that divides the body or an organ into an anterior (front) portion and a posterior (rear) portion. The frontal plane is often referred to as a coronal plane. (“Corona” is Latin for “crown.”)
  • The transverse plane    is the plane that divides the body or organ horizontally into upper and lower portions. Transverse planes produce images referred to as cross sections.

Questions & Answers

The neck is _____ to the navel.
Duchess Reply
Describe the sequence of injuries that may occur if the extended, weight-bearing knee receives a very strong blow to the lateral side of the knee.
Dondon Reply
what is anotomy and waht is phesiology
chanbasha Reply
anatomy is classified the origin physiology is functional of origin
oHo
classified origin functional of origin
Sheryl
Anatomy is the origin of the human body Physiology is the function of the human body
Rose
Differentiate between pharmacist and apothecary
adanoor Reply
What is metatarsal
Ndotenyin Reply
bone of the foot is known as metatarsal
Patrick
yes 👆 right
Sneha
metatarsal (foot bone).....👍
Rishi
what is the meaning for cadavers
Malar
yes metatarsal are foot bone
Rakiya
the term "mental" pertain to which of the following a. chin b.navel c. ear d. nose e. skull
cris Reply
a
Lina
chin
Sneha
hi
Mohamed
skull
Monica
skull
Peter
chin
Kelly
skull
Juma
skull
Gul
skull
Laraib
skull
anwaar
skull
Nirmala
skull
Tessmol
chin
Derrick
mental chin nerve
Katarzyna
e. skull
Jennifer
skull
prince
e. skull
Natasha
It's not skull but chin
mwango
the skull
Rakiya
what are the three many components of the lymphatic system?
Milica Reply
those are...... organ, tissue and blood capillary or vessals
Juma
anatomical terms and use them appropriatly in the language of anatomy of anterior body landmarks
Teody Reply
what is human anatomy?
rascal Reply
lts stady structured human body's
Sa
what is the study of how the body functions?
Bright
What is human anatomy
Sherifat
human antomy is the body of structure
Malar
is the study of human body
Rakiya
what is abdomipelvic cavity?
david Reply
Includes all organs within the abdomen(stomach,intestines) and those from the pelvic region hence the name... abdomipelvic
Maureen
where can we find the short bones
Chidi Reply
Carpal bones are examples of short bones
Dara
what is blood supply
Chidi
on upper limb and lower limb
Juma
carpal bones
Priya
during pregnancy which would more increase size the mothers abdominal or pelvic cavity?
Nurmalyn Reply
pelvic cavity I think
Priya
What is anatomical position
Nwoye
pelvic
Maureen
@ Nwoye... when standing erect, feet parallel, arms hanging at the sides with palms facing forward
Maureen
The pelvic cavity
Rakiya
pelvic
Malar
define the main directional terms of the body
cris Reply
during physical exercise respiratory rate increace two student are discussing the mechanisms involved. student A claim they are positive feedback and student B claim negative feedback do you agree with student A or B and why
cris
what is the physiology of circulation
Chidi
please I mean the physiology of criculation
Chidi
blood flow refers to the movement of blood through the vessels from arteries to the capillaries and then to the veins
Laraib
the heart&the lungs
Rakiya
during pregnancy, which would more size the mother's abdominal or pelvic cavity? explain
cris Reply
list and define the three plane of devision of the body
cris
complete the following statements using correct directional terms for human being. 1. the navel is________to the nose 2. the heart is______to the breastbone(sternum) 3 the ankle is______to the knee 4 the ear is______to the eyes.
cris
1. superior 2. posterior 3. superior 4. lateral
Mnm
anterior fuerior
Chidi
inferior medial posterior lateral we
Susan
name the system of the body and its function
cris Reply
11 system are human body 1.integumentary system 2. skeletal system 3. muscular system 4. nervous system 5. endocrine system 6. cardiovascular system 7. lymphatic system 8. respiratory system 9. digestive system 10. urinary system 11. reproductive system male and female.
Vineeta
during pregnancy, which would more size the mother's abdominal or pelvic cavity? explain
cris

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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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