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Body Structure - Anatomic Directions - Body Positions

  • Anatomic Directions
    • anterior (ventral)
    • toward the front (belly) of the body

    • posterior (dorsal)
    • toward the back of the body

    • medial
    • toward the midline of the body

    • lateral
    • toward the side of the body

    • proximal
    • nearer to the point of attachment or to a given reference point

    • distal
    • farther from the point of attachment or from a given reference point

    • superior
    • above

    • inferior
    • below

    • cranial (cephalic)
    • toward the head

    • caudal
    • toward the lower end of the spine

    • superficial (external)
    • close to surface of the body

    • deep (internal)
    • close to the center of the body

    • frontal plane
    • also called a coronal plane, is made at right angles to the midline and divides the body into anterior and posterior parts

    • sagittal plane
    • passes from front to back and divides the body into right and left portions, if the plane passes throught the midline, it is a mid-sagittal or medial plane

    • transverse plane
    • passes horizontally dividing the body into superior and inferior parts

  • Body Positions
    • anatomic position
    • standing erect, facing forward, arms at sides, palms forward, legs parallel, and toes pointed forward

    • decubitus position
    • lying down, specifically according to the part of the body resting on a flat surface, as in left or right lateral decubitus, or dorsal or ventral decubitus

    • dorsal recumbant position
    • on back, with legs bent and separated, feet flat

    • Fowler position
    • on back, head of bed raised about 18 inches and knees elevated

    • knee-chest position
    • on knees, head and upper chest on table, arms crossed above head

    • left lateral recumbent position
    • on left side, right leg drawn up

    • lithotomy position
    • on back, legs flexed on abdomen, thighs apart

    • prone
    • lying face down

    • Sims positon
    • on left side, right leg drawn up high and forward, left arm along back, and chest forward resting on bed

    • supine
    • lying face up

    • Trendelenburg position
    • on back with head lowered by tilting bed back at 45 degree angle


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Anatomic Directions & Body Positions






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