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By nclexnursing

Language of human anatomy for your nursing review. Without a common vocabulary to identify and locate anatomical areas of the body, it is hard to completely describe how the body functions. Anatomy terminology contains terms for 1) outer parts of the body; 2) directions; 3) three-dimensional divisions of the body, and 4) body cavities. The necessity for a common anatomic language may not be obvious at first, but consider the misunderstanding that can develop while attempting to figure out what’s causing a “stomachache.” What most people think of as a stomachache most likely has nothing to do with the stomach. It’s an amorphous word for pain that might occur anywhere between the chest and the groin.


A system for navigating the human body is comparable to using a map to get to a specific location. The system, like a map, is based on a common orientation. The north is usually at the top of the map, and the south is at the bottom. Anatomic position refers to the human body’s standard position. The anatomic position is when the body is facing forward, with the feet together and the arms put at the sides of the body trunk, palms facing forward. The terms “left” and “right” relate to the subject’s left and right sides, respectively.



Using standard nomenclature makes it easier to refer to specific external destinations. The external areas of the body are separated into those on the front (front) and back (back) sides. The anterior abdominal region is a vast surface that is often subdivided into additional quadrants and regions that correspond to the placement of specific internal organs.



  • Directions and sections are terms that assist us to explain the position of body structures in three dimensions.
  • The front (ventral) and back (dorsal) sides are referred to as anterior (ventral) and posterior (dorsal), respectively.
  • The terms superior and inferior, respectively, relate to the upward and downward directions.
  • The medial direction is a movement toward the longitudinal (vertical) axis, whereas the lateral direction is a movement away from the longitudinal axis.
  • The proximal direction is traveling toward a connected base (e.g., the body trunk), while the distal direction is moving away from such a foundation.
  • The superficial direction moves toward the body’s surface, whereas the deep direction moves away from it.

Anatomic planes can help you build a spatial grasp of human anatomy by allowing you to recognize structures from various angles. There are three anatomical planes, each with its own section:

  • The frontal (coronal) plane runs parallel to the longitudinal axis, and the body is divided into anterior and posterior halves by a frontal (coronal) section.
  • The middle (midsagittal) plane runs parallel to the longitudinal axis, and a median (midsagittal) section divides the body into left and right halves.
  • The longitudinal axis is perpendicular to the transverse (horizontal) plane, and the body is divided into upper and lower halves by a transverse (horizontal) section.


The internal organs, or viscera, are housed in several cavities throughout the human body. The pericardial cavity, which houses the heart, and the two adjacent pleural cavities, which house the left and right lungs, make up the thoracic cavity.

The inferior surface of these cavities is a sheet of muscle called the diaphragm. The organs of the digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems are housed in the abdominopelvic cavity, which is located beneath the diaphragm. The cranial and vertebral chambers, respectively, host the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system.

Serous membranes border the walls of the ventral body cavities (i.e., the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities) and connect to and enclose the visceral organs. Two layers of serosa emerge during embryonic development: an inner visceral layer that attaches to the organs and an outside parietal layer that runs parallel to the cavity.

The visceral organs grow into the body cavities as they develop, and are thus covered by both the visceral and parietal serosa. The area between the two layers of serosa is filled with a thin layer of serous fluid. The mesentery (supporting organs of the digestive tract) or ligaments are formed by sheets of the parietal serosa extending between the body cavity and organs (supporting organs of the urinary and reproductive systems). Although the basic organization of serous tissues is similar in all of the ventral body cavities, the serous tissues in each of these cavities are given unique names: The pericardium is responsible for the pericardial cavity; the pleura is responsible for the pleural cavities, and the peritoneum is responsible for the abdominopelvic cavity.

The tissue lining the cranial and vertebral cavities, unlike the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities, is not a serosa. The meninges are a three-layered tissue that lines the cavities that contain the brain and spinal cord. This tissue’s structure is covered in Chapter 10. Several minor cavities can also be found in the body, which will be discussed in the following chapters.

  • Oral and digestive
  • Nasal
  • Orbital
  • Middle ear
  • Synovial joint


  • Physiology is the study of bodily function, while anatomy is the study of body structure.
  • The function is determined by the structure.
  • Relationships between structure and function exist at all levels of the organization, including the body, organ systems, organs, tissues, cells, and molecules.
  • The ability of the organism to maintain stability within its internal environment is known as homeostasis.
  • Fluid transfer, nutrient procurement, waste elimination, protection, and communication are all essential processes for maintaining homeostasis.

Standard terminology specifies outer regions, directions, and portions to characterize body locations. The internal organs are housed in numerous compartments throughout the body.