Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

05-Planes of the Body

March 28, 2021

To facilitate the study of individual organs or the body as a whole, it is often useful to first subdivide or “cut” it into smaller segments. This can be done with actual cuts in a dissection, or it can be done virtually, as in medical imaging in sonography (ultrasound images), computed tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (see Medical Imaging of the Body in Chapter 6 on p. 132). To understand such a cut—also called a section—one must imagine a body being divided by an imaginary flat plate called a plane.

Because many anatomical sections, cut along specific planes of the body, are used in anatomical studies and medical imaging, we describe them here. As you read the following descriptions, identify each type of plane in Figure 1-4.

  1. Sagittal plane, a lengthwise plane that divides a structure into right and left sections
  2. Midsagittal plane, a sagittal plane that divides the body into two equal halves
  3. Frontal or coronal plane, a lengthwise plane that divides a structure into anterior and posterior sections
  4. Transverse plane, a horizontal plane that divides a structure into upper and lower sections
  5. Oblique plane, any plane that is not parallel to the other planes, producing a slanted section