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Transverse plane
Human anatomy planes.svg
Latin plana transversalia

The transverse plane (also called the horizontal plane, axial plane, or transaxial plane) is an imaginary plane that divides the body into superior and inferior parts. It is perpendicular to the coronal and sagittal planes.

It is one of the planes of the body used to describe the location of body parts in relation to each other. The other two commonly used terms are the Coronal plane and the Sagittal plane.

List of Clinically Relevant Anatomical Planes

Clinically Relevant Anatomical Planes with Associated Structures

  • The transverse thoracic plane
    • Plane through T4 & T5 Vertebral Junction and Sternal Angle of Louis.
    • Marks the:
      • Attachment of Rib 2 at the Sternal Angle;
      • Arch of Aorta(beginning and end);
      • Upper margin of SVC;
      • Thoracic Duct crossing;
      • Tracheal Bifurcation;
      • Pulmonary Trunk Bifurcation;
  • The xiphosternal plane (aka xiphosternal junction)
    • Anterior, inferior limit of thoracic cavity;
    • Marks the:
      • Superior surface of the liver;
      • Respiratory Diaphragm;
      • Inferior border of the heart;
  • The transpyloric plane
    • Plane located halfway between the jugular notch and the upper border of the symphysis pubis;
    • Typically located at the lower border of L1;
    • Cuts through the pylorus and the tips of the ninth costal cartilages;
  • The subcostal plane
    • Transverse plane through the inferior border of costal margin;
    • Typically located at the superior border of L3, or transects L3;
  • The umbilical plane (or transumbilical plane)
    • Located at the level of L3/L4 vertebral junction or IV disc;
  • The supracristal plane
    • Located at the level of L4;
    • Marks bifurcation of Aorta;
    • Most superior aspect of Iliac Crest;
  • The interspinous plane
    • Transverse plane which transverses the anterior superior iliac spines.
    • Typically located at the level of S1.

See also



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