Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition
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When you're talking anatomy in a scientific way, everyday words such as front, back, side, above, and below just aren't precise enough. Instead use the terms in the following list:
  • Anterior or ventral: Toward the front of the body
  • Posterior or dorsal: Toward the back of the body
  • Superior: A part above another part
  • Inferior: A part below another part
  • Medial: Toward the midline (median plane) of the body
  • Lateral: Away from the midline of the body; toward the sides
  • Proximal: Toward the point of attachment to the body
  • Distal: Away from the point of attachment to the body
  • Deep: Toward the inside of the body
  • Superficial: Toward the outside of the body
  • Parietal: A membrane that covers an internal body wall
  • Visceral: A membrane that covers an organ
Also remember that right and left are that of the patient, not the observer.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Erin Odya is an anatomy and physiology teacher at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, one of Indiana’s top schools.

Maggie Norris is a freelance science writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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