Anatomical Planes of the Body - dummies

By Maggie Norris, Donna Rae Siegfried

Part of Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

You may not think about the planes of your body much, but you have them nonetheless, and if you’re talking anatomy, knowing the names of the planes comes in handy. (Too bad sagittal and transverse don’t lend themselves to song as easily as rain and Spain do.) The main planes and their subplanes are in the following list:

  • Sagittal: The plane that runs down through the body, dividing the body into left and right portions. Subsections of the sagittal plane include

    • Midsagittal: Runs through the median plane and divides along the line of symmetry

    • Parasagittal: Parallel to the midline but does not divide into equal left and right portions

  • Frontal (coronal): The plane that runs perpendicular to the sagittal plane and divides the body into anterior (front) and posterior (back) portions

  • Transverse: Horizontal plane that divides the body into upper and lower portions; also called cross-section