Anatomia

Anatomia or anatomy encompasses the structure, organization, location, interrelationships, and function of the different parts of an organism.

Anatomy is the branch of biology that studies the internal body structure of living organisms and their parts(1)

Before the discovery of radiology, the only way to study and teach internal structures and organs was through dissection. Radiology helped correct mistaken anatomical notions made after examining cadavers(2).

Moreover, radiology allows students and professionals to visualize the actions, connections, and variability of the organs. Radiology plays an important role in identifying, interpreting, and learning about internal anatomical structures. 

Radiology also helps detect deep-seated diseases in the early stages. Thus, it can be a useful aid in gross anatomy or the study of major body structures using dissection and observation.

Main Approaches to Studying Anatomy

There are three general approaches when studying gross anatomy or the human body’s larger structures. 

Systemic anatomy studies the body and its parts based on the different body systems. Some of the basic body systems are the muscular system, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the digestive system.

Clinical anatomy focuses on how body structures and functions as applied to different medical practices and health sciences. Clinical anatomy is often taught alongside regional or systemic anatomy. 

Regional anatomy, also referred to as topography anatomy, is the study of the human body according to regions.

Regional anatomy studies the connections and interactions of the structures or organs within each region. Regional anatomy also explores how different body systems in each region work with each other.

Modern teaching curricula commonly use the regional anatomy approach as it is easier to apply to a clinical setting compared to systemic anatomy(3).

Anatomical Regions of the Human Body

The human body may be divided into several anatomical regions. Each main area is further divided into smaller regions to help in compartmentalization and classification.

The major anatomical regions are(4):

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Thorax (chest)
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Upper extremities 
  • Lower extremities

Anatomical Regions and Radiology

Radiology offers a non-destructive and non-invasive method of testing the body to detect the smallest deviation from normal anatomy conditions.

In clinical settings, radiology and medical imaging give physicians a way to inspect the human body more accurately and identify causes of discomfort, disease, or death.

Different medical imaging methods or tests are used to visualize the inner body structures. 

Some of the most frequently used radiology imaging modalities or forms are X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, ultrasonography (U/S), and nuclear imaging scans(5).

Head and Neck

The head and neck region includes all anatomical structures from the neck upwards. This region includes the neck, oral cavity (mouth), nose, eyes, ears, and skull.

Examples of radiology imaging tests for the head and neck regions are head CT scans and neck CT scans. These imaging procedures may be used to check for bleeding, blood clots, or skull fractures(6).

Head MRIs are commonly used to help diagnose stroke, brain tumors, and hydrocephalus (build-up of fluid in the brain cavities)(7).

Thorax

The thorax region refers to the trunk or chest area. Chest X-rays are common medical imaging tests(8). Patients with breathing issues and chest pains or injuries may be advised to get chest X-rays.

Chest CT scans are also common chest imaging exams used to check the size and diameter of different organs(9).

Abdomen and Pelvis

The abdomen and pelvis regions are often grouped together in radiology and medical imaging tests.

A commonly conducted imaging test on the abdomen and pelvis region is the abdominopelvic CT(10). Doctors often perform a combined PET/CT scan to diagnose or evaluate cancers in the abdominopelvic region(11).

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a nuclear imaging technique(12).

Upper Extremities

The upper extremities region starts from the shoulders. Other main parts of the upper extremity anatomy are the arms, elbows, forearms, and hands. The upper extremity is also referred to as the upper limb.

MRIs, such as shoulder and wrist MRIs, are the usual imaging method of choice for examining joints(13).

X-rays of the arms, forearms, and hands may be recommended to check for bone injuries, such as broken bones and fractures, or to check for bone development in children(14).

Lower Extremities

The lower extremities are also called the lower limb. This anatomical region may be divided into several parts: hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle, and foot.

MRI scans are often conducted on joints in the lower extremities, similar to the upper extremity. Knee MRIs are the most commonly ordered medical imaging exams for the musculoskeletal system(15).

X-rays may also be ordered to help assess bone injuries in the legs, knee, and ankle.

Another imaging procedure that may be conducted on the lower extremity region is a venous ultrasound. This procedure is often done to check for deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in leg veins(16).

Correct understanding of the human anatomy and proper interpretation of radiological imaging results are vital for detecting diseases and maintaining optimal health.

References

  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2018, Sept. 26). Anatomy. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/anatomy
  2. Bardeen, C. R. (1927, May 1). The Use of Radiology in Teaching Anatomy. Radiology, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1148/8.5.384   
  3. LibreTexts. (2020, Aug. 14). Defining Anatomy. Retrieved from https://med.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Anatomy_and_Physiology/Book%3A_Anatomy_and_Physiology_(Boundless)/1%3A_Introduction_to_Anatomy_and_Physiology/1.1%3A_Overview_of_Anatomy_and_Physiology/1.1A%3A_Defining_Anatomy
  4. Rad, A. (2020, Dec. 7). Basic anatomy and terminology. Kenhub. Retrieved from https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/human-anatomy-terminology
  5. Vasković, J. (2020, Oct. 29). Medical imaging and radiological anatomy. Kenhub. Retrieved from https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/medical-imaging-and-radiological-anatomy
  6. Radiological Society of North America. (2018, June 22). Computed Tomography (CT) – Head. Radiology Info. Retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=headct
  7. Radiological Society of North America. (2019, Feb. 5). Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Head. Radiology Info. Retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=headmr
  8. Mayo Clinic. (2020, May 2). Chest X-rays. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chest-x-rays/about/pac-20393494
  9. Vasković, J. (2020, Oct. 29). Op. cit.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Radiological Society of North America. (2019, Aug. 1). Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography (PET/CT). Radiology Info. Retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=pet 
  12. Vasković, J. (2020, Oct. 29). Op. cit.
  13. Ibid.
  14. John Hopkins Medicine. X-rays of the extremities. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/xrays-of-the-extremities
  15. Vasković, J. (2020, Oct. 29). Op. cit.
  16. Radiological Society of North America. (2019, Feb. 5). Ultrasound – Venous (Extremities). Radiology Info. Retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=venousus

Intracranial venous system

Venous sinuses: locations on axial cuts (MRI of the brain after medium contrast administration) Venous sinuses: locations on sagittal and coronal slices (MRI of the brain after medium contrast administration) Venous sinuses of the brain: sequence Time-of-flight Reference • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, …

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Circle of Willis (angio-MRI)

These two photo galleries present the anatomy of Circle of Willis by means angio-MRI (Maximum Intensity Projection Time-Of-Flight). Circle of Willis: AP view with rotations Circle of Willis: lateral view with rotations Reference • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and Surgical …

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Atlas of Knee MRI Anatomy

This webpage presents the anatomical structures found on knee MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a radiologic procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to develop detailed image cross-sections of the body, including the knee(1).  Medical images from an MRI allow medical professionals to distinguish body tissues, including the meniscus (shock absorbers in …

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CT of the Craniocervical junction

The images below are reconstructions obtained from a scan of the craniocervical junction. Each row of three thumbnails correspond to a given level and the green cross indicates the reference planes for each image of this Level.

CT of the Cervical Spine: Anatomy

The images below are reconstructions obtained from a scan of the cervical spine. Each row of three thumbnails correspond to a given level and the green cross indicates the reference planes for each image of this Level.

Corpus callosum

This photo gallery presents the anatomy of corpus callosum by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views).   Reference: • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and Surgical Imaging Anatomy: Brain, Head and Neck, Spine. 3rd ed. Salt Lake City, …

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MRI of the Female Pelvis

This webpage presents the anatomical structures found on female pelvis MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI of the female pelvis offers a unique display of the pelvic anatomy, including a woman’s ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.  MRI is a valuable technique in diagnosing or staging anomalies or conditions in the female pelvic region. Unlike sonography …

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