Sagittal Plane

Sagittal Plane Definition

There is an anatomical boundary between the left and right sides of the body called the sagittal plane. From the mouth to the tail, the sagittal plane runs parallel to the longitudinal axis of the organism. The direction toward the sagittal plane is called medial, and the direction away from the sagittal plane is called lateral. 

Similarly to the coronal or frontal plane, the sagittal plane runs along the longitudinal axis. An organism is divided into dorsal and ventral parts by the transverse plane, which crosses the sagittal plane perpendicularly. The parasagittal plane runs parallel to the sagittal plane. In the following image, the sagittal plane can be seen in relation to the other planes.

There is a slight difference in the orientation of human anatomy. Humans tend to orient themselves vertically, while other animals tend to orient themselves horizontally, which has nothing to do with human anatomy. Humans are still divided into left and right halves by the sagittal plane, but it runs vertically rather than horizontally.

Related Biology Terms

  • Coronal Plane – A division along the longitudinal axis which separates the dorsal from the ventral side.
  • Transverse Plane – A plane which bisects the organism perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis.
  • Medial – An anatomical direction towards the sagittal plane.
  • Lateral – A description of the anatomical direction that points away from the sagittal plane.

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