Anatomical terms used for explaining the location are according to a body placed in what is referred to as a standard anatomical position.
While maps are generally directed having north at the top, the normal body “map,” or anatomical position, is that of
- The body standing straight.
- The feet parallel as well as at shoulder width.
- Toes pointed forward.
- The upper limbs are kept out towards each side.
- The palms of the hands face forwards.
Anterior or ventral and posterior or dorsal explain the location of structures with respect to the “front” and “back” of the body.
- Anterior or ventral is used for describing the position of structures that are relative to frontal part of body.
- Posterior or dorsal is used to indicate position of structures that located at the back of a certain part.
- The nose is an anterior (ventral) structure.
- The vertebral column is a posterior (dorsal) structure.
- The nose is located anterior towards the ears.
- The vertebral column is posterior towards the sternum.
- The trachea is located directly anterior towards the esophagus.
- Femur is located posterior towards patella.