Sagittal Plane

This animation (or Quicktime version) travels from the right side to the left, and back again.. Note the head and neck, the thorax or chest, and part of the abdomen. Jump ahead to the labeled version, if you'd like to see a version which graphically labels the internal organs.

Animation of Sagittal Sections

Head and Neck
Follow the path of the brain. Do you see the eyes appear and disappear? Can you see the vertebral column/backbone in the midline of the body?
Within the thorax see if you can first follow the general shape of the lungs, and then of the heart. Then try looking at both of them together - what is the relationship of the heart to the right and left lungs?
You should notice a large brown mass on the right side of the body - the liver. The liver sits beneath the right lung, separated from the thorax by the diaphragm, the thin dome-shaped muscle that we use during inspiration. Follow the path of the liver as you move from left to right. The liver is the second largest organ of the body (the skin is 1st). It plays a vital role in digestion by secreting bile, a thick greenish fluid that helps us absorb fats. It also secretes many kinds of proteins, including clotting factors, digestive enzymes and lipoproteins.

All blood returning from the intestines flows directly into the liver (called the portal circulation). The liver then goes through the abosrbed compounds. It breaks down harmful materials, removes wastes and creates stores of glucose and fats that the body uses when it needs energy. If you don't eat breakfast in the morning the liver will be called upon to provide your body with glucose for energy until you eat lunch.

If you look closely you can also see both kidneys towards the posterior as they come in and out view. The digestive tract - stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, or colon occupies much of the anterior region of the abdomen.

If you don't see everything in the above animation, try the next page which color codes many of the organs.

Next: Labeled Sagittal Sections. | Planes of Section | Return to the main page.