Anatomical regions PDF Print E-mail

Using this course

Notice the list of lessons at the left. Clicking on each lesson opens a list of concepts within that lesson. We suggest following the lessons in order. To replay any concept, just click it again. Following each lesson, you will get a summary and then an interactive quiz. Finally, there will be an examination to measure the skills you have acquired.

Rolling over the "More" tab at the bottom reveals more resources to help you.

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What you will learn

Directions, planes, and motions are basic concepts that you will use over and over when discussing anatomy, pathology, and medical techniques. A good understanding of these topics will make more advanced subjects much easier to learn.

Anatomical directions; the compass of the body.
Body planes, especially as they apply to imaging.
Regions of the body.
Anatomical directions and motions.
Extremity directions and motions.
Motion of the joints.

Following each section, you will get a summary and an interactive quiz.
Finally, there will be an examination to quantify the skills you have acquired.



The fundamentals


Let's discuss the human body and its general regions. These basic concepts are referred to often in anatomy and medicine.

The standard position

The body is directly facing the observer: feet apart, palms full forward. This is called the “standard anatomical position.”

Bilateral body symmetry

The human body displays common biological bi-lateral symmetry. This results in a distinct left portion and right portion. Each half is nearly, but not exactly, the mirror image of the other. However, internally, this is only partially true.

The cephalic region

The cephalic, or head, region includes the cranium and mandible, bones,  eyes, brain, and other organs.

The cervical region

The cervical region, or neck, contains the cervical vertebrae that connect the skull to the thoracic vertebrae. There are other critical structures such as the spinal cord, carotid arteries, and jugular veins.

The thoracic region

The thoracic, or chest, region contains the heart and lungs. The thoracic vertebrae have rib bones attached. Its lower boundary is the diaphragm.

The abdominal region

The abdominal region contains the stomach and intestines, along with the liver, kidneys, and other important organs. Its upper boundary is the diaphragm.

The pelvic region

The pelvic, or hip, region includes the pelvis, anus, urethra, and the reproductive organs. The pelvis is part of the hip joint.

The lower extremities

The lower extremities, or the right and left legs, allow humans to stand upright. They include the hip, knee, and ankle joints. They must support the weight of all the other regions, and are suceptible to many wear-related disorders.

The upper extremities

The upper extremities, or the right and left arms, give humans great dexterity. They include the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. The hand is highly manipulable and has a complicated system of joints, muscles, and nerves.


The body has bi-lateral symmetry.

The body is divided into seven regions:
Lower extremities
Upper extremities




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