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23 terms

Anatomical Directional Terms and planes of reference

Directional terms describe the locations of structures in relation to other structures or locations in the body. These terms often have a counterpart with converse or opposite meaning. Below are examples of some commonly used anatomical directional terms.
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Ventral
Toward the bottom, towards the belly
Anterior
In front of, front
Distal
Away from, farther from the origin
Dorsal
Near the upper surface, towards the back
Inferior
Below, under
Lateral
Toward the side, away from the midline
Rostral
towards the tip of the nose
Posterior
towards the back dorsal
Proximal
Near, closer to the origin
Superior
Above, over
Medial
Toward the midline, middle, away from the side
Caudal
Toward the back, toward the tail
cranial
towards the head end
deep/internal
towards the center
superficial
towards the surface
palmar
back of the forelimb distal to tarsus
plantar
back of hindlimbs distal to tarsus
median plane
divides the animal down the center into equal left and right halves
Sagittal planes
divide the body parallel to the median plane, A body can have more than one
dorsal plane
divides the body into two parts, one containing the belly and the other the back. sometimes referred to as the
transverse plane
divides the body into two sections, one containing the head and the other the tail
orad
refers to movement within the gastrointestinal system in the direction of the mouth
aborad
refers to movement within the gastrointestinal system in the direction away from the mouth