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Body planes are hypothetical planes used to divide the body into sections. They are commonly used in both human and zoological anatomy. They have many uses in describing the location or direction of structures within the body. Reference planes are the standard planes used in anatomical terminology.The three basic reference planes used in anatomy are:
The sagittal plane (lateral or Y-Z plane): divides the body into sinister and dexter (left and right) sides. The midsagittal (median) plane is in the midline through the center of the body and all other sagittal planes are parallel to it.
The coronal plane (frontal or Y-X plane): divides the body into dorsal and ventral (back and front) portions. It also separates the anterior and posterior portions.
The transverse plane (axial or X-Z plane): divides the body into superior and inferior (head and tail) portions. It is typically a horizontal plane through the center of the body, and is parallel to the ground.
While these are the major reference planes of the body, other planes are commonly used as well in relation to those reference planes. A longitudinal plane is any plane perpendicular to the transverse plane, while para-saggital planes are parallel to the saggital plane.
The coronal plane, the sagittal plane, and the para-saggital planes are examples of longitudinal
One of the primary applications for body planes is their uses in medical imaging techniques, such as sonography, CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans. By imaging a patient in standard anatomical position, a radiologist can build an X-Y-Z axis around the patient to apply body planes to their images. The planes can then be used to identify and locate the positions of the patient's internal organs. Individual organs can also be divided by planes to help identify smaller structures withing that organ.
Body planes can also be used to describe anatomical motion because each plane describes an axis in the X-Y-Z coordinate system that the body moves through. An anatomist could use body planes to model the range of motion of an arm or leg by measuring which planes the limb can go through and how far they can move through that plane.
Another application for body planes is describing anatomical change during development in embryology. Body planes help describe and measure how the organism develops in the womb. One example is that during human embryonic development, the coronal plane is horizontal, but switches to become vertical as the embryo develops into a fetus, which is a characteristic of all bipedal organisms. In comparative embryology, body planes provide a basis for comparing the ways in which different types of organisms develop anatomically.
Source: Boundless. “Body Planes and Sections.” Boundless Anatomy and Physiology. Boundless, 08 Aug. 2016. Retrieved 30 Aug. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/physiology/textbooks/boundless-anatomy-and-physiology-textbook/introduction-to-anatomy-and-physiology-1/mapping-the-body-33/body-planes-and-sections-289-1344/