Human Anatomy

Human Anatomy is a branch of science that deals with the study of the whole structure of plants and the animals. Human anatomy is the study of the structure of different parts and organs of the human body. Also, the interrelation of various structures that constitute these parts and organs.

The word anatomy is also derive from Greek term. Literally it means to cut up (ana=excessive or again + tomy=cutting).


The subject of anatomy is divide into four main branches, Such as:

  1. Gross anatomy
  2. Embryology
  3. Histology
  4. Neuroanatomy

Gross Anatomy

This branch of anatomy is also known as macroscopic anatomy. It deals with the study of the organs, parts, and structures of the body that are visible to the naked eye. However, in the modern era, alternatives to cadaveric dissection have become available which include anatomical models, and synthetic cadavers.

Advances in computer technology have led to the development of special hardware and software which can create virtual human bodies, permitting the establishment of 3D interactive anatomy libraries.


The human eye has a limited power of vision and the finer details of body structure cannot be studied with the naked eye. In the 17th century light microscope invented, which enabled the scientists to study fine structural details of the body. Histology is a branch of anatomy that deals with the study of the finer details of body structures with the help of a macroscope. An alternative name for histology is microscopic anatomy.

Development of the electron microscope in the 20h century made it possible to study very fine structure of the body components.

To study histology freshly obtain tissue specimens (from human or animal sources) we put, without delay, in special chemicals known as fixatives, which cause preservation of the existing structure of the specimens. The fixed tissues then embedded in appropriate materials and then cut into thin slices called sections. These tissue sections then exposed to specific Chemicals called stains; Purpose of staining is to enhance the contrast between different tissue components. Finally, the stained sections are studies under the microscope.

Human embryology

Embryology is branch of anatomy, which deals with the study of human development before birth. Human development begins when a sperm from the male fertilizes an ovum from a female. Union of the ovum and sperm results in the formation of a single cell called zygote.


This branch of anatomy deals with the study of structure and organization of the nervous system of body.


Expansion of the knowledge of anatomy has also result in the evolution of many other branches of this subject.

Regional Anatomy

Study of the anatomy of specific portions or regions of the body is regional anatomy or topographical anatomy. For descriptive purpose, the human body generally divided into the following three main anatomical regions:

1. Head and neck

2. Trunk

3. Extremities or limbs (a pair of upper limbs and a pair of lower limbs) It divides into three further parts:

  1. An upper part known as thorax.
  2. A middle part called abdomen.
  3. A lower part called pelvis

Each upper limb consist of three main parts: arm, forearm and hand. The arm (also called upper arm) is the region that extends from the shoulder to elbow. The forearm is the region that lies between the elbow and the wrist. The hand is the terminal part of the upper limb that lies distal to the wrist.

Each lower limb also consist of three major parts: thigh, leg and foot. The thigh lies between the hip above and knee below. The leg is that section of the lower limb which lies between the knee and ankle. The foot is the terminal part of the lower limb which lies distal to the ankle?

Functional Anatomy

Correlation of the function of any organ or part of the body with its structure is Functional Anatomy.

Surface Anatomy

This branch of anatomy deals with the relationships of deeper structures to the surface of the body. For the determination of these relationships use is made of the visible or easily palpable surface landmarks of the human body.

Although most of the deeper structures of the body are neither visible nor palpable, knowledge of their tomography makes it possible to refer them to the visible and palpable landmarks of the body. In this way, various deeply located structures such as heart, lungs, stomach. blood vessels and nerves. etc. can be marked on the skin surface.

Systemic Anatomy

Study of the anatomy of specific systems of the body is called systemic (or systematic) anatomy. This approach of studying anatomy is quite different from the regional (or topographical) approach, because most of the systems of body are not limited to any one specific region. For example, the cardiovascular system reaches every part of the human body and to study this system all regions of the body have to be explored. Similarly, components of the nervous system are present in all the parts of the body and study of the nervous system, called neuroanatomy, calls for the examination of all regions of the human body.

Comparative Anatomy

Comparison of the anatomy of the human beings with that of other animals is called comparative anatomy, It helps us to understand the basis of some of the complicated and apparently tedious anatomical features of the human body.

Radiographic Anatomy

This branch of anatomy deals with the study of the structure of human body by various imaging techniques. It came into existence when Wilhelm Roentgen. a German physicist, discovered X-rays in 1895. The X-rays constitute a variety of ionizing radiation and, since their discovery, are extensively being used to produce images of internal structures and organs of the human body. As ionizing radiation produces harmful effect on body cells and tissues, imaging techniques employing non-ionizing radiation have also been developed. Ultrasound is the most commonly used non- ionizing radiation employed for exploring the deeper structures and organs of the human body.

Surgical Anatomy

This branch of anatomy entails the study of those anatomical facts which are of practical value to the surgeons.

Applied Anatomy

Application of the knowledge of anatomy for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases is called applied anatomy or clinical anatomy.

By Sajid Saleem

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