Anatomical Directional Terms

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Anatomical Terms Certain terms are used to describe the location of body parts, regions of the body, and imaginary planes by which the body can be sectioned. You should become familiar with these terms before your study of anatomy and physiology begins. Anatomical terms are useful only if everyone has in mind the same position of the body and is using the same reference points. Therefore, we will assume that the body is in the anatomical position: standing erect, with face forward, arms at the sides, and palms and toes directed forward, as illustrated in Figure 1.1. Directional Terms Directional terms are used to describe the location of one body part in relation to another (Fig. 1.2): Anterior (ventral) means that a body part is…show more content…
The axial portion includes the head, neck, and trunk. The trunk can be divided into the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis. The pelvis is that part of the trunk associated with the hips. The appendicular portion of the human body includes the limbs-that is, the upper limbs and the lower limbs. The human body is further divided as shown in Figure 1.3. The labels in Figure 1.3 do not include the word “region.” It is understood that you will supply the word region in each case. The scientific name for each region is followed by the common name for that region. For example, the cephalic region is commonly called the head. Notice that the upper arm includes among other parts the brachial region (arm) and the antebrachial region (forearm), and the lower limb includes among other parts the femoral region (thigh) and the crural region (leg). In other words, contrary to common usage, the terms arm and leg refer to only a part of the upper limb and lower limb, respectively. Most likely, it will take practice to learn the terms in Figure 1.3. One way to practice might be to point to various regions of your own body and see if you can give the scientific name for that region. Planes and Sections of the Body To observe the structure of an internal body part, it is customary to section (cut) the body along a plane. A plane is an imaginary flat surface passing through the body. The body is customarily sectioned along the following planes (Fig. 1.4): A
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