Sagittal plane

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List of terms related to Sagittal plane

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


A sagittal plane of the human body is an imaginary plane that travels from the top to the bottom of the body, dividing it into left and right portions.


Examples include:

  • In general, planes that are parallel to the sagittal plane, but do not pass through the midline, are known as parasagittal.


The term is derived from the Latin word Sagitta, meaning "arrow". An image of an arrow piercing a body and passing from front (anterior) to back (posterior) on a parabolic trajectory]would be one way to demonstrate the derivation of the term. Another explanation would be the notching of the sagittal suture posteriorly by the lamboidal suture—similar to feathers on an arrow.

Sagittal axis: Sagittal axis is the axis perpendicular to the sagittal plane, i.e. the sagittal axis lies in the coronal plane. Abduction and adduction are terms for movements of limbs relative to the coronal plane.

Coronal (or frontal) axis: Coronal axis is the axis perpendicular to the coronal plane, i.e. the coronal axis lies in the sagittal plane. Extension and flexion is the movement of limb in sagittal plane.


From a broader perspective, it is one of the planes of the body used to describe the location of body parts in relation to each other - for example, the extent of prognathism. The other reference planes used in anatomy are:

  • The coronal (or frontal) plane divides the body into dorsal and ventral (back and front) portions.
  • A transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into cranial and caudal (top and bottom) portions.

See also


  1. Template:DorlandsDict
  2. Yokochi, Chihiro; Rohen, Johannes W. Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 2006. 217 p. ISBN 0-7817-9013-1.

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