What is the purpose of this site? (ATI) aims to clarify anatomical terminology to benefit all users of anatomical terms - medical students, students in paramedical fields or nursing, anatomists, physicians, health care workers and the public at large.

Especially, it wants to alleviate confusions in anatomical terminological usage. These occur frequently, for instance when two different terms indicate the same anatomical structure, or - reversely - when one term is used with different meanings, or when terms look alike, or similar concepts are mixed up.

ATI tries to solve such confusions by:
  • listing terms that mean the same (synonyms) and providing a definition of this meaning
  • separating terms that look alike or are used intermingled, but have a different meaning
  • linking such look-alike terms, allowing one to find them easily

Terminologia Anatomica – the official anatomical standard

The official anatomical terminology was composed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) (which has been succeeded by the Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology - FIPAT) and was agreed upon and laid down by the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA) in the Terminologia Anatomica (TA). It is valuable to adhere to this standard to facilitate understanding between disciplines (e.g. anatomists, cardiologists) or regions (e.g. English speaking countries, non English speaking countries) and to reduce risks of medical communication mistakes. Therefore the official terminology as published in TA is recommended for communication within the medical and anatomical sciences and general public. Synonymous terms, e.g. clinical terms, are used in daily life, often dependent on discipline and region, and are listed in ATI for reference. helps to look up the official terminology and to translate from different sources:

  • An icon indicates that a term is listed in the official anatomical terminology Terminologia Anatomica.
  • An icon indicates that a term is often used by clinicians.

Wiki is a wiki site: users are invited to add or edit the content.

Especially clinicians are cordially invited to add clinical terms and anatomical concepts that are used in clinical practice, but may not yet be present in the official anatomical terminology. These contributions will aid students, anatomists and physicians outside your medical discipline in bridging the gap between the official cross-discipline terminology and the sometimes discipline- and region specific terms used in daily practice.

Furthermore, speakers of non-English languages, also students, are most welcomed to add non-English synonyms. This will especially help new students for whom the whole anatomical terminology, let alone its multilingual variants - Latin, English and the speaker's 'own' language - is overwhelming. Thank you for your efforts to contribute!

To balance the open contribution with quality assurance, the following policies are in place:
  • entries are initially marked with an icon .
  • a history of all edits of an item and who performed them is obtained by clicking the icons. This allows you to judge the reliability of an item and simultaneously credits its contributor.
  • entries will be reviewed by a review committee of anatomists and clinicians, organized by the American Association of Clinical Anatomy.

Concepts, terms and links

Each page of is divided into three sections:
  • What is it?: information about the Concept: the meaning of the terms listed below, expressed in a definition.
  • Terms/Synonyms: a listing of terms that all have the meaning of the definition above.
  • You might also be interested in...: links to similar concepts, look-a-like terms, variations, etc.
« Back, to look up a term!