Anatomical Terms

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A strong knowledge of anatomy is important in the study of radiography. Here is a list of body regions that you need to become familiar with:

Anatomical Regions:

Abdominal: Region between the thorax and pelvis.
Acromial: The top of the shoulder.
Antebrachial: The forearm.
Antecubital: The space in front of the elbow.
Axillary: The armpit.
Brachial: The arm.
Buccal: The cheek.
Calcaneal: The heel.
Carpal: The wrist.
Celiac: The abdomen.
Cephalic: The head.
Cervical: The neck.
Costal: The ribs.
Coxal: The hips.
Cranial: The skull.
Crural: The (lower) leg.
Cubital: The elbow.
Digital: The fingers (and less commonly, the toes).
Dorsal: The back.
Facial: The face.
Femoral: The thighs.
Frontal: The forehead.
Genital: The external reproductive organs.
Gluteal: The buttocks.
Inguinal: The depressed area in the groin.
Lumbar: The lower back.
Mammary: The breast.
Manual: The hand.
Mental: The chin.
Nasal: The nose.
Occipital: The back of the head.
Ocular: The eye.
Olecranal: The back of the elbow.
Oral: The mouth.
Orbital: The eye cavity.
Otic: The ear.
Palmar: The palm of the hand.
Patellar: The front of the knee.
Pectoral: The chest.
Pedal: The foot.
Pelvic: The pelvis.
Perineal: The region between the anus and the external genitalia.
Plantar: The sole of the foot.
Popliteal: The back of the knee.
Pubic: The region anterior to the pubis bones in the pelvis.
Sacral: The posterior region between the hips.
Sternal: The region above the breastbone.
Sural: The calf.
Tarsal: The ankles.
Thoracic: The chest.
Umbilical: The navel.
Vertebral: The spinal column.

Anatomical Terms - wikiRadiography
Anatomical Terms - wikiRadiography

Anatomical Prefixes

  • a– “absence” [Arrhythmia refers to absence of rhythm in the heartbeat.]
  • –able “capable” [A fetus is viable if it is capable of surviving outside of its mother’s body.]
  • acetabul– “vinegar cup” [The acetabulum is a cup-shaped depression in the hip into which the head of the femur bone fits.]
  • adip– “fat” [Adipose tissue stores fat.]
  • agglutin– “to glue together” [Agglutination is the clumping-together of blood cells.]
  • alb– “white” [An albino has white skin and hair.]
  • –algia “pain” [Neuralgia is a painful disorder of the cranial nerves.]
  • aliment– “food” [The alimentary canal contains and transports food.]
  • allant– “sausage-shaped” [The allantois is a membrane that surrounds a developing fetus.]
  • alveoli– “small cavity” [The alveoli are small sacs within the lungs.]
  • ambi– “both” [One who is ambidextrous can use both hands equally well.]
  • an– “without” [Anaerobic respiration takes place in the absence of oxygen.]
  • ana– “up” [Anabolic steroids cause buildup of muscle tissues.]
  • andr– “man” [Androgens are steroids that promote development of male characteristics.
  • ante– “in front of” [The antecubital region is the front of the elbow.]
  • anti– “against” [An anticoagulant prevents blood from coagulating.]
  • append– “to hang” [The appendix hangs off the intestinal wall.]
  • arthr– “joint” [Arthritis is inflammation of a joint.]
  • auto– “self” [An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues.]
  • ax– “axis” [The axial skeleton makes up the framework of the midline of the body.]
  • bil– “bile” [Bilirubin is a chemical that is used to produce bile.
  • –blast “to create or grow” [Osteoblasts are cells that create new bone matrix.]
  • brachi– “arm” [The brachialis is a muscle in the arm.]
  • brady– “slow” [Bradycardia is an abnormally slow heart rate.]
  • bronch– “the windpipe” [The bronchial tubes connect the windpipe and the lungs.
  • calat– “something inserted” [Intercalated disks are found between the cells of the heart muscle.]
  • calc– “stone” [A kidney stone is properly known as a calculus.]
  • calyc– “small cup” [Urine passes from the kidney into the ureter through small, cuplike structures called calyces.]
  • carcin– “cancer” [A carcinogen can cause cancer to occur.]
  • cardi– “heart” [The heart lies within the pericardial cavity.]
  • carp– “wrist” [The carpal bones are found in the wrist.]
  • cata– “down” [A catatonic person has much lower life functions than normal.]
  • cerebro– “brain” [The brain is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid.]
  • chondr– “cartilage” [The living cells within cartilage are known as chondrocytes.]
  • –cide “destroy” [A germicide kills germs.]
  • –clast “break” [Osteoclasts are cells that break down old or damaged bone.]
  • condyl– “knob” [Condyles are enlarged, knob-like portions at the ends of certain bones.]
  • corac– “beaklike” [The coracoid process is a beaklike projection from the scapula bone.]
  • cort– “covering” [The cortex of the kidney is the outer portion.]
  • cric– “ring” [Cricoid cartilage forms ring-like structures surrounding the windpipe and holding it open.]
  • crin– “to secrete” [Endocrine glands secrete hormones.]
  • crypt– “hidden” [Cryptorchidism occurs when a male’s testes fail to descend into the scrotum and are “hidden” inside the body cavity.]
  • cyan– “blue” [Cyanosis occurs when lack of oxygen causes the skin to turn blue.]
  • cyt– “cell” [Osteocytes are bone cells.]
  • de– “to undo” [Deamination is the removal of an amine group from a molecule.]
  • decidu– “falling off” [The deciduous teeth are shed during childhood.]
  • dendr– “tree” [The dendrites of a nerve cell look like the branches of a tree.]
  • derm– “skin” [A hypodermic needle passes through the skin to deliver drugs directly into the blood.]
  • di– “two” [A disaccharide is a sugar molecule made of two smaller sugar molecules.]
  • dis– “apart” [A joint is disarticulated when the bones are pulled away from each other.]
  • –ectomy “surgical removal” [Surgical removal of the appendix is an appendectomy.]
  • ede– “swelling” [Edema is swelling of body tissues because of excess fluid volume.]
  • ejacul– “to shoot forth” [Ejaculation occurs when semen is ejected from the male’s reproductive system.]
  • embol– “stopper or plug” [An embolism occurs when a blood clot prevents blood flow through a vessel.]
  • –emia “relating to the blood” [Anemia occurs when there are insufficient numbers of red blood cells in circulation.]
  • endo– “within” [The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus.]
  • enter– “the intestine” [Enteritis is inflammation of the intestine.]
  • epi– “above or upon” [The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin.]
  • erythro– “red” [“Red blood cells” are properly known as erythrocytes.]
  • follic– “small bag” [Hairs grow out of structures known as follicles.]
  • fenestr– “window” [A fenestra is a relatively large opening in a bone, like a window.]
  • –ferent “to carry” [Afferent nerve fibers carry impulses toward the central nervous system.]
  • for– “opening” [A foramen is an opening in a bone through which blood vessels or nerves pass.]
  • –form “shaped” [The vermiform appendix is worm-shaped.]
  • foss– “to dig” [A fossa is a depression in a bone that looks as if it has been excavated.]
  • gangli– “swelling” [A ganglion is a cluster of nerve cells.]
  • gastr– “stomach” [Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining.]
  • –gen “to produce” [An allergen causes an allergic reaction.]
  • genesis– “origin” [Spermatogenesis is the process of sperm production.]
  • glom– “little ball” [Glomeruli are tangled masses of blood vessels in the kidneys that look like little balls.]
  • gloss– “tongue” [The glossopharyngeal nerve services the tongue.]
  • glyco– “sweet or sugar” [Glycolysis is the chemical breakdown of the sugar glucose for energy.]
  • gyn– “female” [Gynecology literally means “the study of women.”]
  • hem(at) – “blood” [Hemoglobin is a blood protein that transports oxygen, and haematopoiesis is the process by which blood cells are produced.]
  • hepat– “liver” [Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver.]
  • homeo– “the same” [Homeostasis is the process in which living organisms maintain near-constant internal environments.
  • hyper– “above” [Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure.]
  • hypo– “below” [Hypotension is abnormally low blood pressure.]
  • ia– “abnormal state” [Hypoglycemia refers to abnormally low blood sugar levels.]
  • im– “not” [An imbalance means that things are not in balance.]
  • infra– “below” [The infraorbital region is that region of the face just beneath the eye sockets.]
  • inter– “between” [The interclavicular notch is the depression in your throat between the two clavicle bones.]
  • intra– “inside” [Intramembranous bones form inside membranes.]
  • iso– “equal” [An isotonic saline solution has the same salt concentration as your body tissues.]
  • –itis “inflammation” [Meningitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain.]
  • kerat– “horn” [Keratin is the protein that makes up the horns of goats – and your hair and fingernails.]
  • labi– “lip” [The labia are lip-like structures covering the external opening into the female reproductive tract.]
  • lacri– “tears” [Tears are produced by the lacrimal glands.]
  • lacun– “pool” [The cells in cartilage and bone are found in fluid-filled spaces called lacunae.]
  • leuko– “white” [“White blood cells” are properly known as leukocytes.]
  • lingu– “tongue” [The lingual tonsils are located at the root of the tongue.]
  • lip– “fat” [Lipases are enzymes that break down fat molecules.]
  • –logy “study of” [Biology is the study of life.]
  • –lysis “to dissolve or break down” [The venom of some snakes can cause hemolysis the breakdown of blood cells.]
  • –lyte “dissolvable” [Electrolytes dissolve in water and form electrically-charged subunits.]
  • macro– “large” [Macrophages are large white blood cells.]
  • mal– “bad” [A malignant tumor is rather bad for you.]
  • meat– “passage” [The auditory meatus is an passage in the skull which contains the internal portions of the ear.]
  • melan– “black” [Melanin is a dark pigment produced in the skin.]
  • mening– “membrane” [The meninges are membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.]
  • mens– “month” [The menstrual cycle takes roughly one month.]
  • meta– “change” [Metabolism involves lots of chemical changes.]
  • meta– “beyond” (Yeah, sometimes the same prefix has more than one meaning.) [The metacarpal bones are distal to the carpal bones.]
  • micro– “small” [A microscope can help you see very small things.]
  • mono– “one” [A monomer is a small molecule from which larger molecules can be constructed.]
  • mons– “mountain” [Mons pubis literally means “mountain of the groin.”]
  • morph– “shape or form” [An organism’s morphology is its body form.]
  • multi– “many” [A multinucleated cell has many nuclei.]
  • mut– “change” [A mutagen can cause genetic changes to occur.]
  • myo– “muscle” [Myosin is a protein found in muscle fibers.]
  • narc– “numbness or stupor” [Narcotics cause numbness.]
  • nat– “to be born” [Your natal day is the day you were born.]
  • necro– “dead or death” [Necrosis is the death of body tissue from injury or infection.]
  • neo– “new” [A neonate is a newborn.]
  • nephr– “kidney” [Nephritis is inflammation of the kidney.]
  • neuro– “nerve” [Neurons are nerve cells.]
  • nutri– “nourish” [Nutrients are quite nourishing.]
  • odont– “tooth” [The odontoid process is a tooth-shaped projection on the second cervical vertebra.]
  • oid– “shaped like” [The odontoid process is shaped like a tooth.]
  • olfact– “to smell” [Your olfactory nerves allow you to smell.]
  • –oma “tumor” [Lymphoma is cancer of lymphatic tissues.]
  • oo– “egg” [Oocytes are cells that develop into eggs.]
  • orchi– “testis” [Polyorchidism occurs when a man has more than two testes.]
  • oss– “bone” [Bone is sometimes referred to as osseous tissue.]
  • osteo– “bone” [Loss of bone mass can cause osteoporosis.]
  • oto– “ear” [An otolaryngologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ailments of the ear, nose, and throat.]
  • ovo– “egg” [Ovolactovegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, but not meat.]
  • papill– “nipple” [Whoever decided that the small bumps on the tongue looked like nipples and decided to name them papillae had an interesting way of thinking.]
  • para– “beside” [The parathyroid glands are beside the thyroid glands.]
  • pariet– “wall” [Parietal membranes wall off body cavities.]
  • patho– “disease” [Pathogens are disease-causing agents.]
  • pelv– “basin” [The pelvis forms a basin of sorts that supports some of the internal organs.]
  • peri– “around” [Pericardial membranes surround the heart.]
  • phag– “to eat” [Phagocytes are cells that engulf and destroy bacteria and other invaders.]
  • pleur– “rib” [The pleural cavities lie within the ribcage.]
  • poly– “many” [A polysaccharide is a large carbohydrate molecule made by linking together many smaller carbohydrate molecules.]
  • post– “after” [Postnatal care occurs after birth.]
  • pre– “before” [Prenatal care occurs before birth.]
  • pseudo– “false” [Pseudostratified tissues look as if they’re laid down in layers at first glance, but they aren’t.]
  • puber– “adult” [Our bodies begin to acquire adult characteristics at puberty.]
  • pylor– “gatekeeper” [The pyloric sphincter prevents food from leaving the stomach too soon.]
  • rect– “straight” [The rectus abdominis is a straight, strap-like muscle in the abdomen.]
  • ren- “kidney” [Renal failure is when the kidneys stop functioning.]
  • retro– “behind or backward” [The kidneys are located in the retroabdominal cavity, behind the main portion of the abdominal cavity.]
  • rhino– “nose” [Rhinoviruses infect tissues in the nose and throat.]
  • –rrhea “flowing” [Rhinorrhea is a runny nose.]
  • sacchar– “sugar” [Sucrose is a well-known disaccharide.]
  • seb– “grease” [The sebaceous glands produce skin oil.]
  • squam– “flat or scale-like” [Squamous epithelium is made of flattened cells.]
  • –stasis “standing still” [Homeostasis involves keeping more or less constant body conditions.]
  • strat– “layer” [Stratified epithelium is layered.]
  • sub– “below” [Subcutaneous tissues lie beneath the outer layer of skin.]
  • super– supra– “above” [Superficial tissues lie above deep tissues.]
  • tachy– “fast” [Tachycardia is an abnormally fast heartbeat.]
  • tetan– “stiff” [Tetanus refers to stiffening of muscle fibers.]
  • thorac– “chest” [The thoracic cavity contains the heart and lungs.]
  • thrombo– “lump or clot” [Thrombocytes are cells that initiate clotting of the blood.]
  • –tropic “influencing” [Adrenocorticotropic hormone influences the adrenal cortex.]
  • tympan– “drum” [The tympanic membrane is also known as the eardrum.]
  • umbil– “navel” [The navel is where the umbilical cord joined the body.]
  • ur(o) – “urine” [The ureters transport urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder.]
  • vas– “vessel” [The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and various blood vessels.]
  • viscer– “organ” [Visceral peritoneum surrounds the organs of the abdominopelvic cavity.]
  • vit– “life” [Vitamins are essential for life.]
  • zyg– “joining” [A zygote is formed when a sperm and an ovum join at conception.]

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