Anatomical directional terms are like the directions on a compass rose of a map. Like the directions, North, South, East and West, they can be used to describe the locations of structures in relation to other structures or locations in the body. This is particularly useful when studying anatomy as it provides a common method of communication that helps to avoid confusion when identifyingstructures.
Also as with a compass rose, each directional term often has a counterpart with converse or opposite meaning. These terms are very useful when describing the locations of structures to be studied in dissections.
Anatomical directional terms can also be applied to the planes of the body. Body planes are used to describe specific sections or regions of the body. Below are examples of somecommonly used anatomical directional terms and planes of the body.
Anatomical Directional Terms:
Anterior: In front of, front
Posterior: After, behind, following, toward the rear
Distal: Away from, farther from the origin
Proximal: Near, closer to the origin
Dorsal: Near the upper surface, toward the back
Ventral: Toward the bottom, toward the belly
Superior: Above, over Inferior: Below, under
Lateral: Toward the side, away from the mid-line
Medial: Toward the mid-line, middle, away from the side
Rostral: Toward the front
Caudal: Toward the back, toward the tail
Anatomical Body Planes:
Imagine a person standing in an upright position. Now imagine dissecting this person with imaginary vertical and horizontal planes. This is the best way to describeanatomical planes. Anatomical planes can be used to describe any body part or an entire body. (View a body plane image.)
Lateral Plane or Sagittal Plane: Imagine a vertical plane that runs through your body from front to back or back to front. This plane divides the body into right and left regions.
* Median or Midsagittal Plane: Sagittal plane that divides the body into equal right and leftregions.
* Parasagittal Plane: Sagittal plane that divides the body into unequal right and left regions.
Frontal Plane or Coronal Plane: Imagine a vertical plane that runs through the center of your body from side to side. This plane divides the body into front (anterior) and back (posterior) regions.
Transverse Plane: Imagine a horizontal plane that runs through the midsection of your body.This plane divides the body into upper (superior) and lower (inferior) regions.
Understanding anatomical directional terms and body planes will make it easier to study anatomy. It will help you to be able to visualize positional and spacial locations of structures and navigate directionally from one area to another. Another strategy that can be employed to help you visualize anatomicalstructures and their positions is to use study aids such asanatomy coloring books and flash cards. It may seem a bit juvenile, but coloring books and review cards actually help you to visually comprehend the information
Bones of the Skull
* Ethmoid bone, sieve-like spongy bone located in the anterior part of the floor of the cranium between the orbits. The ethmoid is the principal supportingstructure of the nasal cavity.
* Frontal bone, forms the forehead, the roofs of the orbits, and most of the anterior part of the cranial floor.
* Inferior Nasal Conchae, one of three scroll-like bones that project from the lateral wall of the nasal cavity. The inferior nasal conchae articulate with the ethmoid, maxilla, lacrimal and paltine bones and form the lower part of the lateral wall of thenasal cavity.
* Lacrimal bone, a thin scalelike bone, roughly resembling a fingernail in size and shape, at the anterior part of the medial wall of the orbit, articulating with the frontal and ethmoidal bones and the maxilla and inferior nasal concha.
* Mandible, the bone forming the lower jaw; the largest and strongest bone of the face, presenting a body and a pair of rami, which...
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