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What is the anatomical position?
Body erect and head level, looking forward. Spine straight with feet flat on floor, pointing forward. Arms at sides, supinated with palms forward.
What is the prone position?
Lying face down, on stomach.
What is the supine position?
Lying face up, on back.
What are the major regions of the body?
Head. Neck. Trunk. Upper limb (arm, forearm). Lower limb (thigh, leg).
Why do we use directional terms?
To be able to locate, describe and refer to body structures accurately. These terms enable effective communication of anatomical information between two parties.
The terms describe the position of structures RELATIVE to each other.
What do superior (cephalic/cranial) and inferior (caudal) refer to?
Above. Up. Towards the head.
Eg. The sternum is superior to the thigh.
What do anterior (ventral) and posterior (dorsal) refer to?
- Anterior (Ventral): Front, on the belly.
- Posterior (dorsal): Rear, on the back.
What do medial and lateral refer to?
- Medial: Towards the midline of the body.
- Lateral: Away from the midline of the body.
What do proximal and distal refer to?
- Proximal: Closer towards where a structure branches from another.
- Distal: Further from where a structure branches from another.
What do superficial and deep refer to?
- Superficial: Towards the surface of the body.
- Deep: Away from the surface of the body.
What does the term "plane" refer to?
An imaginary, flat surface which passes through our bodies. They are used to create an orientation from which we can refer to body structures.
Eg. It is difficult to see the layout of the hand on the sagittal plane, but easier on the frontal (coronal) plane.
What is a sagittal plane?
A sagittal plane is a plane that passes through the body vertically when viewed from the front, splitting it into left and right sides. Its flat surface is visible when the body is viewed from the side.
What is the midline?
The midline is an imaginary line which runs down the centre of our bodies, from top to bottom, when viewed in the frontal (coronal) plane. It runs along the nose, between the nipples along the sternum, through the navel and genitals and between the legs.
What is a mid-sagittal (media) plane?
A sagittal plane that runs along the midline of the body, splitting the body into symmetrical, left and right sides.
What is a parasagittal plane?
A sagittal plane that splits the body into left and right sides that are not symmetrical. A parasagittal plane is valuable when consider an organ such as the heart.
What is a frontal (coronal) plane?
A frontal (coronal) plane is a plane that splits the body vertically when looked at from the side. It creates a front/back split and the flat surface is visible when the body is viewed from the front.
What is a transverse plane?
A transverse plane is a plane that splits the body along a horizontal line, when looked at from the front or sides. It creates a top and bottom half and its flat surface is visible when the body is viewed from above or below.
What is an oblique plane?
An oblique plane is a plane that does not pass at a right angle to any of the generic planes and so cannot be described as one. It can be thought of as being a conventional plane, tipped at an off angle.
They are useful for referring to body structures when the conventional planes are insufficient.