Human anatomy is the area of medicine that is responsible for studying the structure and functioning of the human body from a macroscopic view. This means that it focuses on the organs and systems that can be captured by the human eye without requiring the use of a microscope. In this sense, the term anatomy has a meaning oriented to “cut or dissect to see”. Therefore, the human anatomy employs dissecting a cadaver, then, only then could observe and successfully study the organs and systems.
Similarly, human anatomy is based on biological principles to understand the interaction between organs and systems. However, this area also studies the relationship of man with the environment in which he operates. This includes the way the body progresses and develops, as well as complications or diseases that develop. Now, another of the purposes of human anatomy, along with animal anatomy, is to know the similarities and differences between these two species.
On the other hand, it is necessary to mention that human anatomy has been subdivided to guarantee practicality. On the one hand, there are the branches or specializations that are oriented in studies with a specific vision. While on the other hand, there are systems that study specific areas, such as muscles, bones or nerves . Similarly, this subdivision of the study and observation of the human body can be named as regional or systematic. It facilitates the concentration of who studies the human anatomy and avoids confusion.
Branches and types of anatomy
Among the different branches and types of human anatomy are the following:
Descriptive anatomy sections or divides the body into systems and apparatus to describe its shape and function. This type of anatomy focuses on the study and morphological characterization of the human body. It includes the location, size and the components that make up the organs and systems.
This branch of anatomy divides the human body into segments, therefore, it is also called segmental anatomy. It is responsible for describing and expressing the functioning or shape of the body by regions. For example: the region of the head, the region of the thorax or the region of the extremities.
Its main objective is to study how the human body evolves, grows and develops from the moment of its conception. It evaluates and analyzes the physical, organic and systematic changes that an individual goes through until their last day of life. An example of this type of anatomy is embryology or morphogenesis.
As its name implies, it is dedicated to the study of the functions performed by the body. It focuses on the ‘what’, the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of each organism, system or structure, explaining each of these questions in detail.
Superficial anatomy aims to study and understand the morphological structures of the human body. This means that it focuses on the organs that present relief such as muscles and bones, even the skin.
Its name refers to the method and instruments used to carry out the anatomical study. It relies on medical and specialized tools to be introduced into the human body, this with the aim of studying and evaluating the organ or system from within. An example of this are endoscopies and laparoscopies.
This area of medicine studies the anatomy of the body from its conditions and disease. It focuses specifically on the diagnosis and treatment to be used in the event of any type of problem in the body.
It is the type of anatomy that is applied through images of the human body. Study and discover abnormalities inside the body without the need for exploratory surgery, an example of imaging is found in X-rays.
This is used to study the differences and similarities between humans and animals. Compare the functioning, development and evolution of bodies as well as the relationship between them.
Its main and specific objective is to know, evaluate and analyze the circumstances for which a human being died, whether accidental or natural. This work is used by forensic doctors and criminologists.
This is based on the compression of the shape and proportion of the body, its objective is to represent the human figure through some type of artistic manifestation. In general, cartoonists and painters are those who delve into human anatomy.
Examples of systems and devices that study the human anatomy
- Immune system or defenses against diseases.
- Nervous system, the one in charge of sending and processing the information that directs the body’s functioning.
- The cardiovascular system includes the heart, veins and arteries.
- Muscular system, is responsible for the movement of the body.
- Digestive system, processes food.
- Reproductive system, includes and involves the sexual organs.
- The respiratory system , responsible for processing the oxygen that enters the body.