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What Is Anatomical Position And Its Important? Anatomical Positions Of The Body?

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What Is Anatomical Position And Why Is It Important?

Anatomical position is the description of any region or maybe a part of the body in any of a specific stance. In the anatomical position, the body stays upright, directly facing the observer, feet flat and directed forward. The upper limbs of the body are placed by the side and the palms face forward. On the other hand, if the anatomical position is placed face-down then the position is referred to as the prone position. Also, if the anatomical position is faced upwards, then it is referred to as the supine position. Some of the commonly used terms in relation to the anatomical position of the body are,

  • Anterior- the near or the front view of the body is known as the anterior position.
  • Posterior- this refers to the near or the back view of the body.
  • Midline- this is an imaginary vertical line which divides the body equally into two halves right down the middle of the body.
  • Lateral- this is the side view which is farther from the midline of the body.
  • Medial- is the view of the body which is near to the midline of the body.
  • Superior- this is the view from the head or upper part of the structure while looking down.
  • Inferior- this refers to the bottom view of the body from the lower part of the side.
  • Superficial- this is the view close to the surface of the body.
  • Deep- this is the view of the body away from the surface of the body.
  • Proximal- this refers to the view of the body, which is near to the organization of the structure of the body.
  • Distal- this refers to the view of the body which is farther away from the organization of the structure related to the body.

In many of the instances, these terms can be paired. For example, the posterosuperior view does the combination between the posterior and superior which puts forward a view of looking down at the back of one’s body.

Anatomical positions of the human body

The purpose behind the anatomical position is to be able to clearly discuss about the different moving parts of the body ignoring the fact as to how they are moving or in what position they are. This makes the method easier to avoid the confusion when the discussion regarding the human anatomy is carried out. In case of humans, the standard anatomical position is with the body standing up straight or facing forward with the arms kept by the side of the body and the palms of the body facing forward. The legs are straight and the feet are slightly at a distance from each other. This is used as a starting point for the description of the body.

 The various anatomical positions of the body are,

  • Superior-inferior- these come from the Latin words which mean “above” and “below”. In the standard anatomical position, the head is considered to be the most superior part of the body and the feet are rather considered to be the most inferior.
  • Medial-lateral- lateral describes the parts of the body that are towards the sides, while the medial describes the middle of the body. If a part of the body is lateral, it can mean either the left lateral or the right lateral. The left and the right sides of an organism refer to the left and the right sides as viewed from that particular organism. In the views of the standard anatomical position, a person’s right hand is on the viewer’s left and since they are facing opposite the viewer.
  • Dorsal-ventral- the dorsal side refers to the back side of a human body. The ventral side on the other hand is the belly side of the organism. When a human is in the standard anatomical position, the ventral side is facing the person who is viewing.
  • Cranial-Caudal- cranial refers to being closer to the head while on the other hand, the caudal refers to being closer to the tail. These are the terms which are usually used to give a brief description of the anatomy of a quadrupedal organism with tails and not humans. The terms rostral and caudal are used when the skull is referred. The area towards the frontal lobes of the brain is rostral, while on the other hand, the area where the spine gets attached is called with the name Caudal.
  • Proximal-Distal- proximal and distal are used to describe the bodily appendages such as that of limbs. The proximal part of the limb refers to that part which is close to where it joins to the body, while the distal part is the part furthest away. All of these terms, are used for the relative positions along with the standard anatomical position.

Description of the anatomical position

There are mainly three planes present in the human body which transect and divide the bodies into left and right sides. They are referred to as the sagittal plane, the coronal plane and the transverse plane. The sagittal plane runs down the center of the body and dissects the body into the left and the right sides. The coronal plane divides the body into the dorsal and the ventral sides. The transverse plane is at the waist and runs parallel in accordance with the ground dividing the body into two sections, namely the cranial and the caudal sections.

The following diagram shows the different planes of the body related to the human anatomical positions,

 

There can be the existence of a number of sagittal planes, however there is only one single cardinal sagittal place. The term cardinal refers to that one particular plane that divides the body into two equal segments, with exactly one half of the body on either of the side of the plane which are mentioned, referred to as the cardinal plane. The term cardinal plane is also referred to as the principle plane.

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