Studying the body planes and sections anatomically teaches us that our body is divided into geometric planes. It helps nurses understand the different ways that the human body can be viewed. It is used in analyzing MRI images and other medical equipment that produce images.
Understanding the body’s anatomical planes and pro-sections will give us more accurate information about where a certain tumor is, for example, or where an organ is located and how it’s positioned. It also allows us to understand the medical image or diagram on display.
Tho body plane is an imaginary flat 2D surface that runs through the body in all directions. It divides the human body into sections and is used by physicians to identify and locate internal body parts.
The major types of the anatomical plane are easier to remember with the acronym “SOFT“:
- Sagittal Plane: These are flat surfaces running vertically and dividing the body into left and right sections. This longitudinal plane can be midsagittal or parasagittal that divides the body into unequal sections.
- Oblique Planes: These are the planes that dissect the body into angular sections. The term “oblique” means odd angles or not parallel.
- Frontal Planes: These planes, commonly known as the coronal plane, divide the human body vertically into the back and front sections. When the human body is upright, these imaginary lines transect the body into dorsal and ventral and slices through the left and right shoulders.
- Transverse Planes: This is an imaginary 2D flat surface that divides the body perpendicular to the spine and into inferior and superior sections. It is also known as the axial plane. “Trans” is defined as across or horizontal, which means that the plane is parallel to the ground.
Application of Body Planes
The anatomical body planes are vital in imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRI, and PET scans. The radiologist can easily assemble an XYZ axis on the image of a patient in an upright position to use the planes. The Z-axis presents the body from head to toe, the X-axis into left and right, and the Y-axis passes from back to front. This way, analyzing the image can be less complicated and it will be easier to locate internal organs.
Body planes also play an important role when planning surgeries. During a bone or joint realignment within a plane, it is best if the resultant compensation and the deforming force are found in the same plane.
When navigating through anatomical phases, directional terms are also important to describe a structure’s location.
Here are some of the standard anatomical terminologies:
- Superior and inferior– or also referred to as cranial and caudal. These terms are used when referring to a human body part towards or away from the head.
- Posterior and anterior– These terms are mostly used in the anatomy of animals. Anterior comes from the Latin word “ante,” which means before, and posterior from the Latin “post,” meaning after. The heart, for example, is located posterior to the sternum because it is behind it.
- Lateral– describes any body organ that is closer to the left and the right end of the body. The body structures are symmetrical to the midsections, such as the arms or the lungs.
- Superficial and deep– describes the location that is closer to the outer or inner surface of the body.
Understanding the body planes and sections is a huge help in our study of anatomy and physiology, which in turn helps us better understand the pathophysiology of diseases.