The 4 Planes of the Body

Amanda Thomas Apr 29, 2024
4 Planes of the Body

What do you call a nursing student who can remember the four planes of the body?

Plane smart!

Jokes aside, understanding the body’s four planes is essential for nurses and health care professionals. To help describe the locations of structures in the body, picture drawing imaginary lines to divide the body into sections.

These planes run through the body from front to back, top to bottom, and side to side. In this guide, we’ll explore each plane and provide an easy way to remember them.

Jump to Section


  1. Sagittal Plane
  2. Oblique Plane
  3. Frontal Plane
  4. Transverse Plan
  5. An Easy Way to Remember Each Plane

Sagittal Plane Anatomy

The sagittal plane involves dividing the body into right and left halves.

When the division is perfectly in the middle, it’s called the midsagittal plane. This plane is crucial for understanding asymmetry and bilateral symmetry in anatomy.

Visualize it as slicing a person directly down the middle, separating them into two mirror images.

The parasagittal plane is a parallel cut to the midsagittal plane, creating unequal halves.

Oblique Plane Anatomy

Unlike the other planes, the oblique plane has no fixed orientation.

It cuts the body at an angle, neither parallel nor perpendicular to the other planes. This plane is essential for understanding complex structures and movements like the spine or pelvis.

Frontal Plane Anatomy

Also known as the coronal plane, the frontal plane divides the body into front and back sections.

Think of it as a vertical slice from head to toe, creating front and back portions. Understanding this plane is vital for assessing anterior and posterior structures.

This is crucial in diagnosing conditions and planning treatments.

Transverse Plane Anatomy

The transverse plane divides the body into lower and upper portions splitting the trunk region of the body in half.

It’s like slicing a cake horizontally, creating a top and bottom layer. This plane is essential for understanding structures’ depths and relationships within the body, especially for procedures like surgery and imaging studies.

An Easy Way to Remember Each Plane

Remembering the four planes of the body can be daunting, but here’s a simple mnemonic to help: “SOFT.”

  • Sagittal: Splitting the body into left and right.
  • Oblique: Cutting through at an angle.
  • Frontal: Dividing the body into front and back.
  • Transverse: Slicing horizontally, separating top and bottom.

By associating each plane with a letter in the word “SOFT,” you can recall them effortlessly during exams and clinical practice.

Understanding the planes of the body is crucial for nursing students. These imaginary divisions help health care professionals understand anatomy, diagnose conditions, and plan treatments effectively.

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