Study Resources

Medical Terms for the Human Body 101

Last updated: March 23, 2021

Learning the medical terminology for the body’s anatomy enables medical professionals to precisely specify medical and surgical conditions in clear terms. The goal is that your documentation is always as straightforward as possible. These terms allow healthcare professionals that read your work to understand what you are describing fully.

Popliteal Relating to the back of the knee
Sacral A large triangular bone at the base of the spine
Coccygeal “Tailbone” Located at the bottom of the spine.
Vertebral Relating to the vertebra or the spinal bones
Gluteal Relating to the buttocks
Lumbar Relating to the lower back
Scapular Relating to the shoulder blades
Digital Relating to the phalanges
Antecubital Relating to the surface of the arm anterior to the elbow
Carpal Relating to the wrist
Axillary Relating to the underarm
Buccal Relating to the cheek
Orbital Relating to the eye socket
Cervical Relating to the neck
Brachial Relating to the upper arm
Antebrachial Relating to the forearm
Occipital Relating to the base of the skull
Temporal Cranial region lateral to the frontal region
Frontal Relating to the forehead
Plantar Relating to the arch of the foot
Perineal The area between the anus and genitalia
Vulvar External female genitalia
Pelvis The lower part of the trunk between the abdomen and thighs.
Thorax Relating to the chest and back
Frontal Relating to the forehead
Cephalic Relating to the head
Cranial Relating to the skull
Nasal Relating to the nose
Pedal Relating to the feet
Palm (Palmar) the front side of the hand between the bases of the fingers and the wrist or the forefront of the foot
Dorsum The body’s posterior surface in the anatomical position, i.e., the hand or foot’s backside?

Written by on Dec 6, 2020

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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