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The Human Anatomy and Physiology in the Navy

Terms used in how human anatomy positions and directions

The body’s planes are only fictitious lines that divide it into several portions. Anatomical structures can be located using these planes as reference points. The sagittal plane illustrates how the body is divided into two halves along its vertical axis. The sagittal suture runs through this plane, and any plane that is perpendicular to it is referred to as a sagittal plane. Prior (front) and posterior (rear) regions of the body are divided by frontal planes, which are drawn perpendicular to sagittal lines.

Frontal planes are also referred to as coronal planes because this line runs across the cranium’s coronal suture. The body is divided into superior (top) and inferior (bottom) halves by the horizontal or transverse plane, which is drawn at a right angle to the sagittal and frontal planes.

The anatomical position is a common body position used as a point of reference to help with anatomical structure placement comprehension. The body is in this anatomical position when it is upright and the arms are hanging at the sides with the palms facing front.

The following anatomical terms are also frequently used in the Navy

  • Anterior or ventral: Towards the front or along the belly of the body, respectively.
  • Posterior or dorsal: Towards the rear or along the body’s vertebral column, as the case may be.
  • Medial: Located in or around the body’s mid-sagittal plane
  • Lateral: The direction away from the body’s mid-sagittal plane
  • Intern: Inside
  • External: Outside
  • Proximal: In relation to the trunk, proximal means being close to it
  • Distal: Away from the source or the trunk.
  • Superior: Near or at the very top of the body.
  • Caudal: Towards the body’s lower end Inferior: Toward the body’s lower part
  • Supine: lying on one’s back with the head and/or feet elevated
  • Prone: Body lying face down in a prone position.
  • Lateral recumbent: Body lying in a lateral recumbent position.
  • Periphery: the structure’s outside or surface