As part of an Independent Medical Assessment, a specialist may be required to carry out a physical examination of the claimant. When the specialist dictates the report, they will need to refer to the body and the location of its parts in precise detail. In doing this they will use terminology of body planes. They will also use directional terms when communicating the position or location of a condition or injury. Directional terms are also used to describe how a process, organ or body system relates to another. These are terms that will appear in the finished medicolegal report and on occasion, it can be difficult for the client or claimant to interpret. The tables below should assist in understanding some of these terms.
This plane divides the body or any of its parts lengthwise into left and right sides.
Frontal (or Coronal) Plane
This plane divides the body into front (anterior or ventral) and back (posterior or dorsal) portions. This plane slices from right to left.
Transverse or Horizontal Plane
This plane divides the body into the superior (upper) and inferior (lower) parts.