Biology:Terminologia Anatomica

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Short description: International standard on human anatomical terminology

Terminologia Anatomica (commonly abbreviated TA) is the international standard for human anatomical terminology. It is developed by the Federative International Programme on Anatomical Terminology, a program of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA).


The sixth edition of the previous standard, Nomina Anatomica, was released in 1989. The first edition of Terminologia Anatomica, superseding Nomina Anatomica, was developed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) and the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA) and released in 1998.[1] In April 2011, this edition was published online by the Federative International Programme on Anatomical Terminologies (FIPAT), the successor of FCAT. The first edition contained 7635 Latin items.[2]

The second edition was released online by FIPAT in 2019 and approved and adopted by the IFAA General Assembly in 2020. The latest errata is dated August 2021.[3] It contains a total of 7112 numbered terms (1-7113 skipping 2590), with some terms repeated.[4]

Adoption and reception

A 2014 survey of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists found that the TA preferred term had the highest frequency of usage in only 53% of the 25 anatomical terms surveyed, and was highest or second-highest for 92% of terms. 75% of respondents were unfamiliar with FIPAT and TA.[5]

In a panel at the 2022 International Federation of Associations of Anatomists Congress, one author stated "the Terminologia Anatomica generally receives no attention in medical terminology courses", but stressed its importance.[6] The TA is not well established in other languages, such as French.[7] The English equivalent names are often inconsistent if viewed as translations of the accompanying Latin phrases.[8]

The Terminologia Anatomica specifically excludes eponyms, as they were determined to "give absolutely no anatomical information about the named structure, and vary considerably between countries and cultures".[9] In a 2023 study of eight gynecologic eponyms, the TA term was preferred in two cases, and showed a significant trend towards TA adoption in three others, leaving three non-TA terms likely to remain in common use.[10]

Categories of anatomical structures

Terminologia Anatomica is divided into 16 chapters grouped into five parts. The official terms are in Latin. Although equivalent English-language terms are provided, only the official Latin terms are used as the basis for creating lists of equivalent terms in other languages.

Part I

Chapter 1: General anatomy

  1. General terms
  2. Reference planes
  3. Reference lines
  4. Human body positions
  5. Movements
  6. Parts of human body
  7. Regions of human body

Part II: Musculoskeletal systems

Chapter 2: Bones

  1. Axial skeleton
  2. Appendicular skeleton
  3. Bones
  4. Cranium
  5. Extracranial bones of head
  6. Auditory ossicles
  7. Teeth
  8. Nasal cartilages
  9. Cartilages of ear
  10. Laryngeal cartilages
  11. Vertebral column
  12. Thoracic skeleton
  13. Bones of upper limb
  14. Bony pelvis
  15. Bones of lower limb
  16. Joints

Chapter 3: Joints

  1. Joints of skull
  2. Joints of auditory ossicles
  3. Laryngeal joints
  4. Joints of vertebral column
  5. Thoracic joints
  6. Joints of upper limb
  7. Joints of lower limb

Chapter 4: Muscular system

  1. Cranial part of muscular system
  2. Cervical part of muscular system
  3. Dorsal part of muscular system
  4. Thoracic part of muscular system
  5. Abdominal part of muscular system
  6. Pelvic part of muscular system
  7. Muscular system of upper limb
  8. Muscular system of lower limb

Part III: Visceral systems

Chapter 5: Digestive system

  1. Mouth
  2. Fauces
  3. Pharynx
  4. Digestive canal
  5. Liver
  6. Gallbladder
  7. Extrahepatic bile ducts
  8. Pancreas

Chapter 6: Respiratory system

  1. Nose
  2. Paranasal sinuses
  3. Larynx
  4. Tracheobronchial tree
  5. Lungs

Chapter 7: Thoracic cavity

  1. Pleural cavity
  2. Mediastinum

Chapter 8: Urinary system

  1. Kidney
  2. Ureter
  3. Urinary bladder
  4. Urethra

Chapter 9: Genital systems

  1. Female genital system
  2. Male genital system

Chapter 10: Abdominopelvic cavity

Part IV: Integrating systems I

Chapter 11: Endocrine glands

  1. Hypophysis
  2. Pineal gland
  3. Thyroid gland
  4. Parathyroid glands
  5. Suprarenal gland
  6. Paraganglia

Chapter 12: Cardiovascular system

  1. Blood
  2. Lymph
  3. Vessels
  4. Vascular plexuses
  5. Heart
  6. Pulmonary vessels
  7. Cardiac vessels
  8. Systemic arteries
  9. Systemic veins
  10. Great lymphatic vessels

Chapter 13: Lymphoid organs

  1. Primary lymphoid organs
  2. Secondary lymphoid organs

Part V: Integrating systems II

Chapter 14: Nervous system

  1. Central nervous system
  2. Peripheral nervous system
  3. Autonomic division of peripheral nervous system

Chapter 15: Sense organs

  1. Olfactory organ
  2. Eye
  3. Ear
  4. Gustatory organ

Chapter 16: The integument

  1. Skin
  2. Skin appendages
  3. Subcutaneous tissue
  4. Breast
  5. Scalp

See also


  1. Terminologia Anatomica: International Anatomical Terminology. New York: Thieme Medical Publishers. 1998. ISBN 0-86577-808-6. 
  2. Kachlik, David; Musil, Vladimir; Baca, Vaclav (September 2015). "Terminologia Anatomica after 17 years: Inconsistencies, mistakes and new proposals". Annals of Anatomy - Anatomischer Anzeiger 201: 8–16. doi:10.1016/j.aanat.2015.04.006. PMID 26094127. 
  3. FIPAT (2019). Terminologia Anatomica. Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology. 
  4. "Terminologia Anatomica 2019 TA2". 
  5. Martin, Bradford D.; Thorpe, Donna; DeLuna, Vanessa; Howard, Trish; Hagemeyer, Josh; Wilkins, Nicholas (18 September 2014). "Frequency in Usage of Terminologia Anatomica Terms by Clinical Anatomists". Journal of Biomedical Education 2014: e950898. doi:10.1155/2014/950898. 
  6. Mcleister, Kyle (August 2022). "Teaching anatomical terminology: a systematic approach". 16. Istanbul, Turkey: EBSCO. pp. S68. 
  7. Houle, Mélanie (August 2022). "Giving the province of Quebec a taste of its own medicine: diversity of dialect in the medical field". 16. Istanbul, Turkey: EBSCO. pp. S69. 
  8. Russell, Stephen Clark (August 2022). "Notes from a philologist: when the English equivalents of TA terms are inconsistent with the original Latin terms". 16. Istanbul, Turkey: EBSCO. pp. S68–S69. 
  9. McNulty, MA; Wisner, RL; Meyer, AJ (November 2021). "NOMENs land: The place of eponyms in the anatomy classroom.". Anatomical Sciences Education 14 (6): 847–852. doi:10.1002/ase.2108. PMID 34145778. 
  10. Shrosbree, B.; DeLancey, J.O.; Hong, C.X. (March 2023). "Frequency and trends in usage of eponyms in gynecologic anatomical terminology". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 228 (3): S907–S908. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2022.12.176. 

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