Definition and branches of ANATOMY

This topic deals with the definition and branches of anatomy available.


ana – continuous

tomy – cutting

  • Continuous cutting is called anatomy .
  • Anatomy is the study of structure and relationship among structures .
  • Anatomy was first studied through dissection of cadavers so it is called cadaveric anatomy.

Branches of anatomy

  • Cadaveric anatomy
  • Living anatomy
  • Surface anatomy
  • Topographic anatomy
  • Developmental anatomy
  • Histology
  • Cytology
  • Physical anthropology
  • Radiographic anatomy
  • Pathological anatomy
  • Applied anatomy
  • Dental anatomy
  • Comparative anatomy
  • Veterinary anatomy

Cadaveric anatomy – Also called macroscopic or gross anatomy. It is studied on dead bodies.

It is divided in two parts –

  1. Regional anatomy – study of specific regions of the body. Ex- head or chest
  2. Systemic anatomy – study of specific systems of the body. Ex- skeletal system(osteology), muscular system (myology), etc.

Living anatomy- Studied on living organisms.

Ex- Inspection, Palpation, percussion, auscultation, C.T. scan, M.R.I. , etc.

Surface anatomy– Study of deeper parts of body in relation to skin surfaces.

It is useful in clinical and surgical operations.

Topographic anatomy- Study of structure and form of a portion of the body with particular emphasis on relationships of parts to each other.

Developmental anatomy – Study of development from fertilised egg to adult form. It occurs in two stages-

  1. Intrauterine – This developmental phase is further divided in two phases-
  • Embryology – Early stage of foetus. ( Egg – eight weeks )
  • Foetology – 8 weeks – 8 months

2. Extrauterine – Child development to adult form.

Histology (microscopic anatomy )-Microscopic study of the structure of tissues.

Cytology- The science of cell formation and cell life.

Physical anthropology – Deals with external features and measurements of different races and groups of people and with study of prehistoric remains.

Radiographic anatomy (skiagraphy)- Study of deeper organs by plane and contrast radiography.

Pathological anatomy (morbid anatomy) – Anatomy of diseased organs.

Applied anatomy (clinical anatomy)- Application of anatomy to diagnosis and treatment.

Dental anatomy- One concerning teeth, their location, position and relationships.

Comparative anatomy – Comparison of homologous structures of different animals.

Veterinary anatomy- Anatomy of domestic animals.

This was all about the definition and branches of anatomy.

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