To orient a viewer, anatomists use various
planes
(imag-
inary flat surfaces) to divide the body, body cavities, and or-
gans into slices or flat surfaces called
sections
(
Figure 1.6
):
1.
The
sagittal plane
(SAJ-i-tal;
sagitt-
= arrow) divides
the object into right and left sides:
• The
m id sagittal plane
passes through the midline
of the body and divides the object into
equal
right and
left sides.
• The
p arasagittal plane
does not pass through the
midline but instead divides the object into
unequal
right and left sides.
2.
The
fro n ta l p la n e
, or
coronal plane,
divides the object
into anterior (front) and posterior (back) portions.
3.
The
transverse plane
divides the object into superior
(upper) and inferior (lower) portions. A transverse plane
may also be called a
cross-sectional plane,
or
horizontal plane.
Sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes are all at right an-
gles to one another. By contrast, an
oblique plane
passes
through the object at an angle between the transverse
plane and a sagittal plane or between the transverse plane
and the frontal plane.
Body Cavities Contain Organs
and Other Anatomical Structures
Body cavities
are spaces within the body that contain, pro-
tect, separate, and support internal organs (
Figure 1.7
).
Anatomical planes and sections • Figure 1.6
Three-dimensional planes (left) divide the body, its organs, and cavities into sections (right).
If the brain is sliced (physically or virtually) along the transverse plane, the resulting section is
called a transverse section a. Dissection of the brain along the frontal plane is referred to as
a frontal section b. The brain can also be sliced into sagittal or midsagittal sections along the
sagittal plane c.
■ Frontal
plane
View
1
Transverse
plane
Parasagittal
plane
Transverse
plane
Midsagittal
plane
(through
midline)
Oblique
plane
Posterior
b.
Anterior
Frontal plane
View
c.
Midsagittal plane
Anterior view
View
a.
Transverse section
12 CHAPTER 1
Organization of the Human Body
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