Chapter I Surface Anatomy and Anterior Body Landmarks

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By nclexnursing

The surface anatomy and Anterior Body Landmarks is the visible markers on the body that convey a wealth of information. The body is divided into two sections: The axis of the body is related to the head, neck, and trunk. Appendicular: Referring to the limbs and their connections to the axis.

Anterior Body Landmarks

Abdominal: Anterior body trunk region inferior to the ribs
Acromial: Point of the shoulder
Antebrachial: Forearm
Antecubital: Anterior surface of the elbow
Axillary: Armpit
Brachial: Arm
Buccal: Cheek
Carpal: Wrist
Cephalic: Head
Cervical: Neck region
Coxal: Hip
Crural: Leg
Digital: Fingers or toes
Femoral: Thigh
Fibular (peroneal): Side of the leg
Frontal: Forehead
Hallux: Great toe
Inguinal: Groin area
Mammary: Breast region
Manus: Hand
Mental: Chin
Nasal: Nose
Oral: Mouth
Orbital: Bony eye socket (orbit)
Palmar: Palm of the hand
Patellar: Anterior knee (kneecap) region
Pedal: Foot
Pelvic: Pelvis region
Pollex: Thumb
Pubic: Genital region
Sternal: Region of the breastbone
Tarsal: Ankle
Thoracic: Chest
Umbilical: Navel

Posterior Body Landmarks

Acromial: Point of the shoulder
Brachial: Arm
Calcaneal: Heel of the foot
Cephalic: Head
Dorsum: Back
Femoral: Thigh
Gluteal: Buttocks or rump
Lumbar: Area of the back between the ribs and hips; the loin
Manus: Hand
Occipital: Posterior aspect of the head or base of the skull
Olecranal: Posterior aspect of the elbow
Otic: Ear
Pedal: Foot
Perineal: Region between the anus and external genitalia
Plantar: Sole of the foot
Popliteal: Back of the knee
Sacral: Region between the hips (overlying the sacrum)
Scapular: Scapula or shoulder blade area
Sural: Calf or posterior surface of the leg
Vertebral: Area of the spinal column

The majority of us have an innate curiosity about our bodies. Infants, who are attracted by their own waving hands or their mother’s nose, demonstrate this phenomenon. The student of anatomy, unlike the infant, must learn to formally inspect and identify the dissectible body structures. The jargon employed in science might be overwhelming to a student who is new to the field. Anatomy is no exception to this rule. However, without this specific terminology, misunderstanding is unavoidable. In terms of the human body, what do the terms over, on top of, superficial to, above, and behind mean? Anatomists use a standard set of terminology that is globally understood.

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Body Orientation and Direction

It’s worth noting that several phrases have different meanings for four-legged animals (quadrupeds) than for humans (biped).

Superior/inferior: These phrases refer to a structure’s position along the body’s long axis. Superior structures are always visible above inferior buildings, while inferior structures are always visible beneath superior structures. The nose, for example, is higher than the mouth, and the abdomen is lower than the chest.

Anterior/posterior (front/back): The face, chest, and belly are the most anterior (front/back) features in humans. The structures on the backside of the body are known as posterior structures. The spine, for example, is located behind the heart.

Medial/lateral (ascending/descending from the midline or median plane): The ribs are medial to the sternum (breastbone), while the ear is lateral to the nose.

The words of position are only discussed in the context of the anatomical position of the individual. The following four-term pairs are more definitive. They are applicable in any body posture and have the same meaning across all vertebrate species.

Cephalad (cranial) vs. caudal (towards the head/tail): These phrases are interchangeable with superior and inferior in humans, but they are synonymous with anterior and posterior in four-legged animals.

Dorsal/ventral (backside/belly side): These phrases are mostly used to talk about animal comparative anatomy when the animal is upright. The word “dorsum” comes from the Latin word “dorsum,” which means “back.” As a result, dorsal refers to the back of an animal or the backside of any other structure; for example, the dorsal surface of a human leg is its posterior surface. The phrase ventral comes from the Latin word event, which means “belly,” and refers to the side of an animal’s abdomen. Although the phrases ventral and dorsal are interchangeable with the terms anterior and posterior in humans, they are synonymous with inferior and superior in four-legged animals.

These phrases are mostly used to locate various parts of the body limbs. Proximal/distal (nearer the trunk or attached end/further from the trunk or point of attachment): These terms are largely used to locate various areas of the body limbs. The fingers, for example, are distal to the elbow, whereas the knee is proximal to the toes. However, these phrases can also refer to internal tubular organ areas (near to or farther from the head) (toward or at the body surface/away from the body surface): superficial (external)/deep (internal): These words refer to the relative proximity of body organs to the body surface.