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5 Cards in this Set

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transverse section or plane
Transverse (or axial) sections form a series of slices, rather like stacking a group of pancakes atop one another. Transverse sections run top (superior) to bottom (inferior). Your chin is inferior to your forehead but superior to your knees. These terms may be used interchangeably with cranial (as in the cranium of your head) and caudal (latin for 'tail') You can go through the entire body in this animation of transverse sections.

to cut a specimen could be to cut it in a horizontal plane. This type of cut would leave you with a top piece and a bottom piece
coronal section or plane
a specimen in a vertical direction so that you are left with a front piece and a back piece.For example, if you wanted to look at the interior structures of the brain and how their shapes vary as you move from front to back inside the brain, you would need to make a series of coronal sections to follow the changes in the shape of the internal structures


Coronal sections follow front to back, as though cutting through a corona, or halo, around the head. In medical terms anterior means front, and posterior means back. The terms ventral (front), and dorsal (back) may be used interchangeably. The following animation of coronal sections runs anteriorly from the nose to the posterior of the head (Quicktime movie).
sagittal section or plane
Sagittal sections run from one side of the body to the other - left to right, or right to left. In medical terms lateral means towards the sides, and medial towards the middle. The nose is medial (and inferior!) to the eyes, while the ears lie lateral to the eyes and nose. The animation of sagittal sections traverses from the right shoulder to the left, and back again (Quicktime movie). A labeled version shows key internal organs (Quicktime movie).


to cut it into a right piece and a left piece. a sagittal section does not always have to be right down the middle
midsagittal section
To cut a specimen right down the middle producing equal right and left halves
parasagittal section
To section a secimen into right and left pieces that are not necessarily equal (on off-center cut in the sagittal plane)