Anatomical terminology

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Anatomical terminology is a form of scientific terminology used by anatomists, zoologists, and health professionals such as doctors. Anatomical terminology_sentence_0

Anatomical terminology uses many unique terms, suffixes, and prefixes deriving from Ancient Greek and Latin. Anatomical terminology_sentence_1

These terms can be confusing to those unfamiliar with them, but can be more precise, reducing ambiguity and errors. Anatomical terminology_sentence_2

Also, since these anatomical terms are not used in everyday conversation, their meanings are less likely to change, and less likely to be misinterpreted. Anatomical terminology_sentence_3

To illustrate how inexact day-to-day language can be: a scar "above the wrist" could be located on the forearm two or three inches away from the hand or at the base of the hand; and could be on the palm-side or back-side of the arm. Anatomical terminology_sentence_4

By using precise anatomical terminology such ambiguity is eliminated. Anatomical terminology_sentence_5

An international standard for anatomical terminology, Terminologia Anatomica has been created. Anatomical terminology_sentence_6

Word formation Anatomical terminology_section_0

See also: Medical terminology Anatomical terminology_sentence_7

Anatomical terminology has quite regular morphology, the same prefixes and suffixes are used to add meanings to different roots. Anatomical terminology_sentence_8

The root of a term often refers to an organ or tissue. Anatomical terminology_sentence_9

For example, the Latin names of structures such as musculus biceps brachii can be split up and refer to, musculus for muscle, biceps for "two-headed", brachii as in the brachial region of the arm. Anatomical terminology_sentence_10

The first word describes what is being spoken about, the second describes it, and the third points to location. Anatomical terminology_sentence_11

When describing the position of anatomical structures, structures may be described according to the anatomical landmark they are near. Anatomical terminology_sentence_12

These landmarks may include structures, such as the umbilicus or sternum, or anatomical lines, such as the midclavicular line from the centre of the clavicle. Anatomical terminology_sentence_13

The cephalon or cephalic region refers to the head. Anatomical terminology_sentence_14

This area is further differentiated into the cranium (skull), facies (face), frons (forehead), oculus (eye area), auris (ear), bucca (cheek), nasus (nose), oris (mouth), and mentum (chin). Anatomical terminology_sentence_15

The neck area is called the cervix or cervical region. Anatomical terminology_sentence_16

Examples of structures named according to this include the frontalis muscle, submental lymph nodes, buccal membrane and orbicularis oculi muscle. Anatomical terminology_sentence_17

Sometimes, unique terminology is used to reduce confusion in different parts of the body. Anatomical terminology_sentence_18

For example, different terms are used when it comes to the skull in compliance with its embryonic origin and its tilted position compared to in other animals. Anatomical terminology_sentence_19

Here, refers to proximity to the front of the nose, and is particularly used when describing the skull. Anatomical terminology_sentence_20

Similarly, different terminology is often used in the arms, in part to reduce ambiguity as to what the "front", "back", "inner" and "outer" surfaces are. Anatomical terminology_sentence_21

For this reason, the terms below are used: Anatomical terminology_sentence_22

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_0

  • Radial referring to the radius bone, seen laterally in the standard anatomical position.Anatomical terminology_item_0_0
  • Ulnar referring to the ulna bone, medially positioned when in the standard anatomical position.Anatomical terminology_item_0_1

Other terms are also used to describe the movement and actions of the hands and feet, and other structures such as the eye. Anatomical terminology_sentence_23

History Anatomical terminology_section_1

Further information: International scientific vocabulary and Medical terminology Anatomical terminology_sentence_24

International morphological terminology is used by the colleges of medicine and dentistry and other areas of the health sciences. Anatomical terminology_sentence_25

It facilitates communication and exchanges between scientists from different countries of the world and it is used daily in the fields of research, teaching and medical care. Anatomical terminology_sentence_26

The international morphological terminology refers to morphological sciences as a biological sciences' branch. Anatomical terminology_sentence_27

In this field, the form and structure are examined as well as the changes or developments in the organism. Anatomical terminology_sentence_28

It is descriptive and functional. Anatomical terminology_sentence_29

Basically, it covers the gross anatomy and the microscopic (histology and cytology) of living beings. Anatomical terminology_sentence_30

It involves both development anatomy (embryology) and the anatomy of the adult. Anatomical terminology_sentence_31

It also includes comparative anatomy between different species. Anatomical terminology_sentence_32

The vocabulary is extensive, varied and complex, and requires a systematic presentation. Anatomical terminology_sentence_33

Within the international field, a group of experts reviews, analyzes and discusses the morphological terms of the structures of the human body, forming today's Terminology Committee (FICAT) from the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA). Anatomical terminology_sentence_34

It deals with the anatomical, histological and embryologic terminology. Anatomical terminology_sentence_35

In the Latin American field, there are meetings called Iberian Latin American Symposium Terminology (SILAT), where a group of experts of the Pan American Association of Anatomy (PAA) that speak Spanish and Portuguese, disseminates and studies the international morphological terminology. Anatomical terminology_sentence_36

The current international standard for human anatomical terminology is based on the Terminologia Anatomica (TA). Anatomical terminology_sentence_37

It was developed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) and the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA) and was released in 1998. Anatomical terminology_sentence_38

It supersedes the previous standard, Nomina Anatomica. Anatomical terminology_sentence_39

Terminologia Anatomica contains terminology for about 7500 human gross (macroscopic) anatomical structures. Anatomical terminology_sentence_40

For microanatomy, known as histology, a similar standard exists in Terminologia Histologica, and for embryology, the study of development, a standard exists in Terminologia Embryologica. Anatomical terminology_sentence_41

These standards specify generally accepted names that can be used to refer to histological and embryological structures in journal articles, textbooks, and other areas. Anatomical terminology_sentence_42

As of September 2016, two sections of the Terminologia Anatomica, including central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, were merged to form the Terminologia Neuroanatomica. Anatomical terminology_sentence_43

Recently, the Terminologia Anatomica has been perceived with a considerable criticism regarding its content including coverage, grammar and spelling mistakes, inconsistencies, and errors. Anatomical terminology_sentence_44

Location Anatomical terminology_section_2

Main article: Anatomical terms of location Anatomical terminology_sentence_45

Anatomical terminology is often chosen to highlight the relative location of body structures. Anatomical terminology_sentence_46

For instance, an anatomist might describe one band of tissue as "inferior to" another or a physician might describe a tumor as "superficial to" a deeper body structure. Anatomical terminology_sentence_47

Anatomical position Anatomical terminology_section_3

Anatomical terms used to describe location are based on a body positioned in what is called the standard anatomical position. Anatomical terminology_sentence_48

This position is one in which a person is standing, feet apace, with palms forward and thumbs facing outwards. Anatomical terminology_sentence_49

Just as maps are normally oriented with north at the top, the standard body "map," or anatomical position, is that of the body standing upright, with the feet at shoulder width and parallel, toes forward. Anatomical terminology_sentence_50

The upper limbs are held out to each side, and the palms of the hands face forward. Anatomical terminology_sentence_51

Using the standard anatomical position reduces confusion. Anatomical terminology_sentence_52

It means that regardless of the position of a body, the position of structures within it can be described without ambiguity. Anatomical terminology_sentence_53

Regions Anatomical terminology_section_4

Main article: List of human anatomical regions Anatomical terminology_sentence_54

In terms of anatomy, the body is divided into regions. Anatomical terminology_sentence_55

In the front, the trunk is referred to as the "thorax" and "abdomen". Anatomical terminology_sentence_56

The back as a general area is the dorsum or dorsal area, and the lower back is the lumbus or lumbar region. Anatomical terminology_sentence_57

The shoulder blades are the scapular area and the breastbone is the sternal region. Anatomical terminology_sentence_58

The abdominal area is the region between the chest and the pelvis. Anatomical terminology_sentence_59

The breast is also called the mammary region, the armpit as the axilla and axillary, and the navel as the umbilicus and umbilical. Anatomical terminology_sentence_60

The pelvis is the lower torso, between the abdomen and the thighs. Anatomical terminology_sentence_61

The groin, where the thigh joins the trunk, are the inguen and inguinal area. Anatomical terminology_sentence_62

The entire arm is referred to as the brachium and brachial, the front of the elbow as the antecubitis and antecubital, the back of the elbow as the olecranon or olecranal, the forearm as the antebrachium and antebrachial, the wrist as the carpus and carpal area, the hand as the manus and manual, the palm as the palma and palmar, the thumb as the pollex, and the fingers as the digits, phalanges, and phalangeal. Anatomical terminology_sentence_63

The buttocks are the gluteus or gluteal region and the pubic area is the pubis. Anatomical terminology_sentence_64

Anatomists divide the lower limb into the thigh (the part of the limb between the hip and the knee) and the leg (which refers only to the area of the limb between the knee and the ankle). Anatomical terminology_sentence_65

The thigh is the femur and the femoral region. Anatomical terminology_sentence_66

The kneecap is the patella and patellar while the back of the knee is the popliteus and popliteal area. Anatomical terminology_sentence_67

The leg (between the knee and the ankle) is the crus and crural area, the lateral aspect of the leg is the area, and the calf is the sura and sural region. Anatomical terminology_sentence_68

The ankle is the tarsus and tarsal, and the heel is the calcaneus or calcaneal. Anatomical terminology_sentence_69

The foot is the pes and pedal region, and the sole of the foot is the planta and plantar. Anatomical terminology_sentence_70

As with the fingers, the toes are also called the digits, phalanges, and phalangeal area. Anatomical terminology_sentence_71

The big toe is referred to as the hallux. Anatomical terminology_sentence_72

Abdomen Anatomical terminology_section_5

Main article: Quadrants and regions of abdomen Anatomical terminology_sentence_73

To promote clear communication, for instance about the location of a patient’s abdominal pain or a suspicious mass, the abdominal cavity can be divided into either nine regions or four quadrants. Anatomical terminology_sentence_74

Anatomical terminology_description_list_1

The abdomen may be divided into four quadrants, more commonly used in medicine, subdivides the cavity with one horizontal and one vertical line that intersect at the patient’s umbilicus (navel). Anatomical terminology_sentence_75

The right upper quadrant (RUQ) includes the lower right ribs, right side of the liver, and right side of the transverse colon. Anatomical terminology_sentence_76

The left upper quadrant (LUQ) includes the lower left ribs, stomach, spleen, and upper left area of the transverse colon. Anatomical terminology_sentence_77

The right lower quadrant (RLQ) includes the right half of the small intestines, ascending colon, right pelvic bone and upper right area of the bladder. Anatomical terminology_sentence_78

The left lower quadrant (LLQ) contains the left half of the small intestine and left pelvic bone. Anatomical terminology_sentence_79

Anatomical terminology_description_list_2

The more detailed regional approach subdivides the cavity into nine regions, with two vertical and two horizontal lines drawn according to landmark structures. Anatomical terminology_sentence_80

The vertical; or midclavicular lines, are drawn as if dropped from the midpoint of each clavicle. Anatomical terminology_sentence_81

The superior horizontal line is the subcostal line, drawn immediately inferior to the ribs. Anatomical terminology_sentence_82

The inferior horizontal line is called the intertubercular line, and is to cross the iliac tubercles, found at the superior aspect of the pelvis. Anatomical terminology_sentence_83

The upper right square is the right hypochondriac region and contains the base of the right ribs. Anatomical terminology_sentence_84

The upper left square is the left hypochondriac region and contains the base of the left ribs. Anatomical terminology_sentence_85

The epigastric region is the upper central square and contains the bottom edge of the liver as well as the upper areas of the stomach. Anatomical terminology_sentence_86

The diaphragm curves like an upside down U over these three regions. Anatomical terminology_sentence_87

The central right region is called the right lumbar region and contains the ascending colon and the right edge of the small intestines. Anatomical terminology_sentence_88

The central square contains the transverse colon and the upper regions of the small intestines. Anatomical terminology_sentence_89

The left lumbar region contains the left edge of the transverse colon and the left edge of the small intestine. Anatomical terminology_sentence_90

The lower right square is the right iliac region and contains the right pelvic bones and the ascending colon. Anatomical terminology_sentence_91

The lower left square is the left iliac region and contains the left pelvic bone and the lower left regions of the small intestine. Anatomical terminology_sentence_92

The lower central square contains the bottom of the pubic bones, upper regions of the bladder and the lower region of the small intestine. Anatomical terminology_sentence_93

Standard terms Anatomical terminology_section_6

When anatomists refer to the right and left of the body, it is in reference to the right and left of the subject, not the right and left of the observer. Anatomical terminology_sentence_94

When observing a body in the anatomical position, the left of the body is on the observer’s right, and vice versa. Anatomical terminology_sentence_95

These standardized terms avoid confusion. Anatomical terminology_sentence_96

Examples of terms include: Anatomical terminology_sentence_97

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_3

  • and , which describe structures at the front (anterior) and back (posterior) of the body. For example, the toes are anterior to the heel, and the popliteus is posterior to the patella.Anatomical terminology_item_3_2
  • and , which describe a position above (superior) or below (inferior) another part of the body. For example, the orbits are superior to the oris, and the pelvis is inferior to the abdomen.Anatomical terminology_item_3_3
  • and , which describe a position that is closer to (proximal) or farther from (distal) the trunk of the body. For example, the shoulder is proximal to the arm, and the foot is distal to the knee.Anatomical terminology_item_3_4
  • and , which describe structures that are closer to (superficial) or farther from (deep) the surface of the body. For example, the skin is superficial to the bones, and the brain is deep to the skull. Sometimes profound is used synonymously with deep.Anatomical terminology_item_3_5
  • and , which describe a position that is closer to (medial) or farther from (lateral) the midline of the body. For example, the nose is medial to the eyes, and the thumb is lateral to the other fingers.Anatomical terminology_item_3_6
  • and , which describe structures derived from the front (ventral) and back (dorsal) of the embryo, before limb rotation.Anatomical terminology_item_3_7
  • and , which describe structures close to (rostral) or farther from (caudal) the nose. For example, the eyes are rostral to the back of the skull, and the tailbone is caudal to the chest.Anatomical terminology_item_3_8
  • and caudal, which describe structures close to the top of the skull (cranial), and towards the bottom of the body (caudal).Anatomical terminology_item_3_9
  • Occasionally, sinister for left, and dexter for right are used.Anatomical terminology_item_3_10
  • Paired, referring to a structure that is present on both sides of the body. For example, the hands are paired structures.Anatomical terminology_item_3_11

Axes Anatomical terminology_section_7

Each locational term above can define the direction of a vector, and pairs of them can define , that is, lines of orientation. Anatomical terminology_sentence_98

For example, blood can be said to flow in a proximal or distal direction, and anteroposterior, mediolateral, and inferosuperior axes are lines along which the body extends, like the X, Y, and Z axes of a Cartesian coordinate system. Anatomical terminology_sentence_99

An axis can be projected to a corresponding plane. Anatomical terminology_sentence_100

Planes Anatomical terminology_section_8

Main article: Anatomical plane Anatomical terminology_sentence_101

Anatomy is often described in , referring to two-dimensional of the body. Anatomical terminology_sentence_102

A section is a two-dimensional surface of a three-dimensional structure that has been cut. Anatomical terminology_sentence_103

A plane is an imaginary two-dimensional surface that passes through the body. Anatomical terminology_sentence_104

Three planes are commonly referred to in anatomy and medicine: Anatomical terminology_sentence_105

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_4

  • The sagittal plane is the plane that divides the body or an organ vertically into right and left sides. If this vertical plane runs directly down the middle of the body, it is called the midsagittal or median plane. If it divides the body into unequal right and left sides, it is called a parasagittal plane, or less commonly a longitudinal section.Anatomical terminology_item_4_12
  • The frontal plane is the plane that divides the body or an organ into an anterior (front) portion and a posterior (rear) portion. The frontal plane is often referred to as a coronal plane, following Latin corona, which means "crown".Anatomical terminology_item_4_13
  • The transverse plane is the plane that divides the body or organ horizontally into upper and lower portions. Transverse planes produce images referred to as cross sections.Anatomical terminology_item_4_14

Functional state Anatomical terminology_section_9

Anatomical terms may be used to describe the functional state of an organ: Anatomical terminology_sentence_106

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_5

Anatomical variation Anatomical terminology_section_10

Main article: Human body § Anatomical variations Anatomical terminology_sentence_107

The term anatomical variation is used to refer to a difference in anatomical structures that is not regarded as a disease. Anatomical terminology_sentence_108

Many structures vary slightly between people, for example muscles that attach in slightly different places. Anatomical terminology_sentence_109

For example, the presence or absence of the palmaris longus tendon. Anatomical terminology_sentence_110

Anatomical variation is unlike congenital anomalies, which are considered a disorder. Anatomical terminology_sentence_111

Movement Anatomical terminology_section_11

Main article: Anatomical terms of motion Anatomical terminology_sentence_112

Joints, especially synovial joints allow the body a tremendous range of movements. Anatomical terminology_sentence_113

Each movement at a synovial joint results from the contraction or relaxation of the muscles that are attached to the bones on either side of the articulation. Anatomical terminology_sentence_114

The type of movement that can be produced at a synovial joint is determined by its structural type. Anatomical terminology_sentence_115

Movement types are generally paired, with one being the opposite of the other. Anatomical terminology_sentence_116

Body movements are always described in relation to the anatomical position of the body: upright stance, with upper limbs to the side of body and palms facing forward. Anatomical terminology_sentence_117

General motion Anatomical terminology_section_12

Terms describing motion in general include: Anatomical terminology_sentence_118

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_6

  • and , which refer to a movement that decreases (flexion) or increases (extension) the angle between body parts. For example, when standing up, the knees are extended.Anatomical terminology_item_6_18
  • and refers to a motion that pulls a structure away from (abduction) or towards (adduction) the midline of the body or limb. For example, a star jump requires the legs to be abducted.Anatomical terminology_item_6_19
  • Internal rotation (or medial rotation) and external rotation (or lateral rotation) refers to rotation towards (internal) or away from (external) the center of the body. For example, the Lotus position posture in yoga requires the legs to be externally rotated.Anatomical terminology_item_6_20
  • and refer to movement in a superior (elevation) or inferior (depression) direction. Primarily refers to movements involving the scapula and mandible.Anatomical terminology_item_6_21

Special motions of the hands and feet Anatomical terminology_section_13

These terms refer to movements that are regarded as unique to the hands and feet: Anatomical terminology_sentence_119

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_7

  • and refers to flexion (dorsiflexion) or extension of the foot at the ankle. For example, plantarflexion occurs when pressing the brake pedal of a car.Anatomical terminology_item_7_22
  • and dorsiflexion refer to movement of the flexion (palmarflexion) or extension (dorsiflexion) of the hand at the wrist. For example, prayer is often conducted with the hands dorsiflexed.Anatomical terminology_item_7_23
  • and refer to rotation of the forearm or foot so that in the anatomical position the palm or sole is facing anteriorly (supination) or posteriorly (pronation) . For example, if a person makes a "thumbs up" gesture, supination will cause the thumb to point away from the body midline and the fingers and plam to be upwards, while pronation will cause the thumb to point towards the body midline with the back of the hand upwards.Anatomical terminology_item_7_24
  • and refer to movements that tilt the sole of the foot away from (eversion) or towards (inversion) the midline of the body.Anatomical terminology_item_7_25

Muscles Anatomical terminology_section_14

Main article: Anatomical terms of muscle Anatomical terminology_sentence_120

Muscle action that moves the axial skeleton work over a joint with an origin and insertion of the muscle on respective side. Anatomical terminology_sentence_121

The insertion is on the bone deemed to move towards the origin during muscle contraction. Anatomical terminology_sentence_122

Muscles are often present that engage in several actions of the joint; able to perform for example both flexion and extension of the forearm as in the biceps and triceps respectively. Anatomical terminology_sentence_123

This is not only to be able to revert actions of muscles, but also brings on stability of the actions though muscle coactivation. Anatomical terminology_sentence_124

Agonist and antagonist muscles Anatomical terminology_section_15

The muscle performing an action is the agonist, while the muscle which contraction brings about an opposite action is the antagonist. Anatomical terminology_sentence_125

For example, an extension of the lower arm is performed by the triceps as the agonist and the biceps as the antagonist (which contraction will perform flexion over the same joint). Anatomical terminology_sentence_126

Muscles that work together to perform the same action are called synergists. Anatomical terminology_sentence_127

In the above example synergists to the biceps can be the brachioradialis and the brachialis muscle. Anatomical terminology_sentence_128

Skeletal and smooth muscle Anatomical terminology_section_16

Main article: Gross anatomy of muscles Anatomical terminology_sentence_129

The gross anatomy of a muscle is the most important indicator of its role in the body. Anatomical terminology_sentence_130

One particularly important aspect of gross anatomy of muscles is pennation or lack thereof. Anatomical terminology_sentence_131

In most muscles, all the fibers are oriented in the same direction, running in a line from the origin to the insertion. Anatomical terminology_sentence_132

In pennate muscles, the individual fibers are oriented at an angle relative to the line of action, attaching to the origin and insertion tendons at each end. Anatomical terminology_sentence_133

Because the contracting fibers are pulling at an angle to the overall action of the muscle, the change in length is smaller, but this same orientation allows for more fibers (thus more force) in a muscle of a given size. Anatomical terminology_sentence_134

Pennate muscles are usually found where their length change is less important than maximum force, such as the rectus femoris. Anatomical terminology_sentence_135

Skeletal muscle is arranged in discrete muscles, an example of which is the biceps brachii. Anatomical terminology_sentence_136

The tough, fibrous epimysium of skeletal muscle is both connected to and continuous with the tendons. Anatomical terminology_sentence_137

In turn, the tendons connect to the periosteum layer surrounding the bones, permitting the transfer of force from the muscles to the skeleton. Anatomical terminology_sentence_138

Together, these fibrous layers, along with tendons and ligaments, constitute the deep fascia of the body. Anatomical terminology_sentence_139

Joints Anatomical terminology_section_17

Main article: Joint Anatomical terminology_sentence_140

Movement is not limited to only synovial joints, although they allow for most freedom. Anatomical terminology_sentence_141

Muscles also run over symphysis, which allow for movement in for example the vertebral column by compression of the intervertebral discs. Anatomical terminology_sentence_142

Additionally, synovial joints can be divided into different types, depending on their axis of movement. Anatomical terminology_sentence_143

Membranes Anatomical terminology_section_18

Main article: Serous membrane Anatomical terminology_sentence_144

A serous membrane (also referred to as a serosa) is a thin membrane that covers the walls of organs in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Anatomical terminology_sentence_145

The serous membranes have two layers; parietal and visceral, surrounding a fluid filled space. Anatomical terminology_sentence_146

The visceral layer of the membrane covers the organ (the viscera), and the parietal layer lines the walls of the body cavity (pariet- refers to a cavity wall). Anatomical terminology_sentence_147

Between the parietal and visceral layers is a very thin, fluid-filled serous space, or cavity. Anatomical terminology_sentence_148

For example, the pericardium is the serous cavity which surrounds the heart. Anatomical terminology_sentence_149

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_8

  • and describe structures that relate to an organ (visceral), or the wall of the cavity that the organ is in (parietal). For example, the parietal peritoneum surrounds the abdominal cavity.Anatomical terminology_item_8_26

Additional images Anatomical terminology_section_19

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_9

  • Anatomical terminology_item_9_27
  • Anatomical terminology_item_9_28

See also Anatomical terminology_section_20

Anatomical terminology_unordered_list_10


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomical terminology.