Anterior refers to “front”, “in front of”, or “close to the front”. In human anatomy, it refers to the front surface of the body or organ and is frequently used to indicate the position of one structure in relation to another, i.e., close to the body’s front. Its synonym is ventral. Anterior is the opposite of “posterior”, which refers to the back surface of the body or an organ.
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Here are some examples of how the term “anterior” is used in anatomy and medicine:
- The heart is located anterior to the spine.
- Anterior resection; rectum resection performed from the front, i.e. through the abdomen,
- Anterior colporrhaphy is a surgical procedure that involves the repair of a prolapsed or weakened anterior vaginal wall (also known as a cystocele) and a repair of the bladder base in females. The procedure involves making an incision in the anterior wall of the vagina, and it aims to restore the normal anatomical position of the pelvic organs by suturing the vaginal wall to the surrounding connective tissue and muscles. The goal of the surgery is to provide support to the bladder and prevent urinary incontinence or difficulties with urination. It is called “anterior” colporrhaphy because the surgical repair is done through the anterior (front) vaginal wall.
- Posterior colporrhaphy is a surgical procedure that is performed to repair a rectocele, which is a condition in which the rectum bulges into the back wall of the vagina due to weakness of the supporting tissues between the rectum and vagina. The procedure involves making an incision in the posterior wall of the vagina, and then suturing the weakened tissues to provide support for the rectum and restore the normal anatomy of the vagina. It is called “posterior” colporrhaphy because the surgical repair is done through the posterior (back) vaginal wall.
- Anterior chamber is a fluid-filled space located at the front of the eye, behind the cornea and in front of the iris and lens.
- Anterior abdominal wall is the front surface or layer of the abdomen that is composed of several layers of muscle, fascia, and skin. It extends from the lower part of the ribcage to the pelvis. The major muscles of the anterior abdominal wall are the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and transversus abdominis.
- Anterior mediastinum: The mediastinum is the space in the chest between the lungs that contains the heart, great vessels, thymus gland, lymph nodes, and nerves. The anterior mediastinum is the front portion of the mediastinum, located in front of the heart and behind the sternum (breastbone). It contains various structures including fat, lymph nodes, and the thymus gland