Body cavities and directional terms
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Body Cavities and Directional Terms. Anatomical Position. Body is standing, arms at side, palms facing forward, head and feet forward This is the position the body is in when using directional terminology Ipsilateral : on the same side Contralateral : on the opposite side. Body Cavities.

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Body Cavities and Directional Terms

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Body cavities and directional terms

Body Cavities and Directional Terms

Anatomical position

Anatomical Position

  • Body is standing, arms at side, palms facing forward, head and feet forward

  • This is the position the body is in when using directional terminology

  • Ipsilateral: on the same side

  • Contralateral: on the opposite side

Body cavities

Body Cavities

  • The body is not solid

  • Contains 2 major cavities which are then subdivided

  • Ventral Cavity: includes the thoracic (or chest) cavity and the abdominopelvic cavity

  • Dorsal Cavity: includes cranial and spinal cavities

Thoracic cavity

Thoracic Cavity

  • Thoracic Cavity: contains a RIGHT and LEFT PLEURAL cavity; midpoint is the MEDIASTINUM

  • Organs in the mediastinum: heart, trachea, right and left bronchi, esophagus, thymus, blood vessels, parts of the lymph system, and nerves

  • Organs in the pleural cavity: right and left lungs

Abdominopelvic cavity

Abdominopelvic Cavity

  • Has upper portion (Abdominal cavity) and lower portion (pelvic cavity)

  • Abdominal Cavity contains: liver, gall bladder, stomach, pancreas, intestines, spleen, kidneys, ureters

  • Pelvic Cavity contains: bladders, certain reproductive organs, colon, rectum

  • In females: uterus, uterine tubes, ovaries

  • In males: prostate gland, seminal vesicle, vas deferens

Dorsal cavity

Dorsal Cavity

  • Cranial cavity lies in the skull and houses the brain

  • Spinal Cavity lies in spinal column and houses the spinal cord

Important terms

Important Terms

  • Parietal: actual wall of the body cavity or the membrane that lines its surface

  • Visceral: not the wall or lining of the body cavity but the membranes that cover the organs, or viscera, within the cavity

Body regions

Body Regions

  • Body can be divided into two major portions: axial and appendicular

  • Axial includes: head, neck, torso and trunk

  • Appendicular includes: upper and lower extremities and their connections (pelvic and pectoral girdles)

  • Each of these are divided into regions

Body region terminology

Body Region Terminology

  • Diagram and Table for Terminology***

Abdominal region

Abdominal Region

  • Divided into 9 regions to help locate organs

  • Right Hypochondriac: right lobe of liver and gall bladder

  • Epigastric: part of right and left liver lobes, portion of stomach

  • Left Hypochondriac: small portion of stomach and large intestines

  • Right Lumbar: portions of large and small intestines

Abdominal region1

Abdominal Region

  • Umbilical: transverse colon, loops of small intestines

  • Left Lumbar: small intestine, portion of colon

  • Right Iliac: cecum, parts of small intestines

  • Hypogastric: small intestines, urinary bladder, appendix

  • Left Iliac: portions of small intestines, colon

Abdominopelvic quadrants

Abdominopelvic Quadrants

  • Helps to describe the site of abdominal pain or locate pathology

  • Horizontal and vertical line passing through the umbilicus (navel) divides into

    • Right Upper Quadrant

    • Left Upper Quadrant

    • Right Lower Quadrant

    • Left Lower Quadrant

Directional terms

Directional Terms

  • Superior: toward the head; upper/above

  • Inferior: toward the feet; lower/below

  • Anterior: front; in front of

  • Posterior: back; in back of

  • Medial: Toward the midline of the body

  • Lateral: toward the side; away from the midline

  • Proximal: toward or nearest to the trunk

  • Distal: away from the trunk

  • Superficial: near the surface

  • Deep: farther from the body surface

Organ terms

Organ Terms

  • Lumen: the hollow portion of an organ

  • Central: near the center

  • Peripheral: near the boundary or edge

  • Medullary: inner region of an organ

  • Cortical: outer region or layer of an organ

  • Basal: widest point of an organ

  • Apical: narrowest tip of an organ

Body planes and sections

Body Planes and Sections

  • Sagittal Plane: lengthwise plane running from front to back; divides into left and right

  • Coronal Plane: lengthwise plane running from left to right; divides into front and back (also called frontal plane)

  • Transverse Plane: crosswise plane; divides into upper and lower quadrants (also called horizontal plane)

Body types

Body Types

  • Somatype: used to describe body build or physique

  • ENDOMORPH: heavy, rounded physique characterized large accumulations of fat in trunk and thighs

  • MESOMORPH: muscular physique

  • ECTOMORPH: thin, fragile physique characterized by little body fat accumulation



  • Constant state maintained by the body

  • Maintaining a constant internal environment inside the body by the body systems

  • P.23 Figure 1-13

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