Body Planes and Cavities - Medical Terminology(Adaptive*)

To visualize structural arrangements of various organs, the body may be sectioned (cut) according to planes of reference. The three major planes are the frontal, median, and horizontal planes, as shown in Figure (Body Planes).In addition, body cavities, as shown in Figure (Body cavities.Ventral cavities (anterior) located in the front of the body; dorsal cavities (posterior) located in the back of the body.), contain internal organs and are used as a point of reference to locate structures within body cavities.

Body Planes

A body plane is an imaginary flat surface that divides the body into two sections. Different planes divide the body into different sections, such as front and back, left side and right side, and top and bottom. These planes serve as points of reference for describing the direction from which the body is being observed. Planes are particularly useful to describe views in which radiographic images are taken.


Body Cavities

The median (midsagittal) plane lies exactly in the middle of the body and divides the body into two equal halves. (See Figure Body Planes.) When the chest is divided into equal right and left sides, it is divided by the median plane, also known as the midsagittal plane When the lungs are divided into equal right and left sides, they are divided by the midair plane, also known as the median plane

The horizontal (transverse) plane runs across the body from the right side to the left side and divides the body into upper (superior) and lower(inferior) portions. Figure Body Planes shows the division of this plane. Recall the term super/ior. It is a point of reference that refers to a structure above or oriented toward a higher place. For example, the head is superior to the heart. Infer/ior is a point of reference that refers to a structure situated below or oriented toward a lower place. For example, the feet are inferior to the legs.

Many different transverse planes exist at every possible level of the body, from head to foot. A trans/verse section is also called a cross-sectional plane. Some radiographic imaging devices produce cross-sectional images. Cross-sectioning of the body or of an organ along different planes results in different views.

radi/ o/ graph of the liver along a trans/verse plane results in a different view than a radiograph along the frontal plane. That is why a series of x-rays is commonly taken using different planes. Views along different planes result in a complete and comprehensive image of a body structure.

Body Cavities

The body contains two major cavities: the dorsal and ventral cavities. These cavities are hollow spaces that contain internal organs. They are further subdivided into two dors/al and two ventr/al cavities. The dors/al cavity includes the crani/al cavity, which is formed by the skull and contains the brain. The spin/al cavity, which is formed by the spine (backbone), contains the spinal cord.

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