Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care

   

Anatomical Terms

The body is always described as if standing upright with the palms of the hands facing forward. There is only one central vertical plane, termed the median or sagittal plane, and this passes through the body from front to back. Planes parallel to this on either side are parasagittal or paramedian planes. Vertical planes at right angles to the median are called coronal planes. The term horizontal (or transverse) plane speaks for itself. Two specific horizontal planes are (a) the transpyloric, midway between the suprasternal notch and the symphysis pubis, and (b) the transtubercular or intertubercular plane, which passes through the tubercles of the iliac crests. Many other planes are named from the structures they pass through.

Views of the body from some different points are shown on the diagram; a view of the body from above is called the superior aspect, and that from below is the inferior aspect.

Cephalic means toward the head; caudal refers to positions (or in a direction) towards the tail. Proximal and distal refer to positions respectively closer to and further from the centre of the body in any direction, while lateral and medial relate more specifically to relative sideways positions, and also refer to movements. Ventral refers to the abdomen, front or anterior, while dorsal relates to the back of a part or organ. The hand has a dorsal and a palmar surface, and the foot a dorsal and a plantar surface.

Note that flexion of the thigh moves it forward while flexion of the leg moves it backwards; the movements of extension are similarly reversed. Movement and rotation of limbs can be medial, which is with the front moving towards the centre line, or lateral, which is in the opposite direction. Specific terms for limb movements are adduction, towards the centre line, and abduction, which is away from the centre line. Other specific terms are supination and pronation for the hand, and inversion and eversion for the foot.

Human Anatomy

Human Anatomy

Cartilaginous Joint Sinovial Joint Teeth Bone Structure

Cartilaginous Joint Sinovial Joint Teeth Bone Structure

Pelvis Foot Hand

Pelvis Foot Hand

Heart

Heart

Lungs

Lungs

Kidney

Kidney

Digestive System

Digestive System

Brain

Brain

Neurone

Neurone

Ear

Ear

Eye

Eye

Urogenital System (male)

Urogenital System (male)

Urogenital System (female)

Urogenital System (female)