The human body is a complex and intricate piece of engineering in which every structure plays a precise role. There are approximately 200 bones, 650 muscles, 79 organs, and enough blood vessels to circle the Earth twice!
Medical schools typically teach the anatomy of these structures in approximately one academic year. However, what does human anatomy actually entail?
In this article, we’ll take a look at what this subject means and how you can tackle it in the most logical way.
|Regional anatomy||Organises the body into defined parts: Upper limb, lower limb, trunk and back, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, head and neck, neuroanatomy|
|Systemic anatomy||Evaluates the body by defined systems: Integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, lymphatic systems|
|Microscopic anatomy||Looks at the microscopic structure of tissues and organs|
|Other methods||Clincal/applied anatomy, cross-section, medical imaging|
Basics and terminology
First things first, what is anatomyand where did it all begin? The term ‘anatomy’ derives from ancient Greek meaning ‘dissection’ or ‘to dissect’ and involves the study of the structure of the human body. This 2000 year old scientific discipline sprung to life in Ancient Egypt and was increasingly developed across the ages by anatomy heavyweights like Galen, Leonardo da Vinci, Vesalius, and many others.
Learning such a complex subject can only be accomplished by taking small and logical steps. What’s the best place to start? By mastering the basics, such as directions, movements, body planes, and overall anatomical terminology.
In a nutshell, three main anatomical planes divide the body into frontal, lateral, and transverse views. These views showcase the position and relations between anatomical structures, which are described by precise terms, for example superior, inferior, lateral, and many others. Movements can also be described by standardly accepted terms, such as flexion and extension. With this vocabulary up our sleeves, it’s time to dive deeper into the subject and find out more about its learning approaches. Human anatomy consists of two main divisions:
- Macroscopic or gross anatomy
- Microscopic anatomy