Basic anatomy mnemonics- terminologies and head and neck

Basic anatomy mnemonics- terminologies and head and neck

1. Anatomical planescoronal, horizontal, sagittal

  • Coronal: A classic painting/stained glass window of a saint/angel has a corona radiating around the person's head. The plane of the glass/page is cutting their head in the coronal plane.
  • Horizontal: Someone coming over the horizon has their abdomen cut in the horizontal plane.
  • Sagittal: the remaining one by default.


2. Inversion vs. eversion direction in the foot

  • Little INtroVERted boys roll their feet in when talking to girls.
  • Also, can just watch which way the sole of the foot goes: does it face in or out?


3. Ossification ages

Every Potential Anatomist Should Know When

When they ossify, in order of increasing year:

  • Elbow: 16 years
  • Pelvis, Ankle: 17 years
  • Shoulder, Knee: 18 years
  • Wrist: 19 years


4. Plantarflexion vs. dorsiflexion

Plantar flexion occurs when you squish a Plant with your foot.


5. Supine vs. prone body position

Know SUPination is your hand while carrying a bowl of SOUP. Your face follows where your palm is facing [i.e. up]. Put a handpuppet on your hand while hand is in supination and the puppet will be the supine position.


6. Ansa cervicalis nerves: Names​​​​​​

GHost THought SOmeone STupid SHot Irene:

  • Geniohyoid
  • Thyrohyoid
  • Superior Omohyoid
  • Sternothyroid
  • Sternohyoid
  • Inferior omohyoid

7. Bell's palsysymptoms

BELL'S Palsy:

  • Blink reflex abnormal
  • Earache
  • Lacrimation [deficient, excess]
  • Loss of taste
  • Sudden onset
  • Palsy of VII nerve muscles


8. Brachial plexusbranches

"MAunt Raped MUncle":

    *From lateral to medial:

  • Musculocutaneous
  • Axillary
  • Radial
  • Median
  • Ulnar

9. Brachial plexusbranches of posterior cord


  • Subscapular (upper and lower)
  • Thoracodorsal
  • Axillary
  • Radial

10. Brachial plexusnumbers of each section

It is the same backwards and forwards:


  • Rami
  • Trunks
  • Divisions
  • Cords
  • Terminal nerves


11. Brachial plexus: organization

"The Castrated Dog Turns Rabid":

  From lateral to medial:

  • Terminal branches
  • Cords
  • Divisions
  • Trunks
  • Roots

 NB.   All symptoms are unilateral.


12. Carotid sheathcontents

"I See 10 CC's in the IV":

  • I See (I.C.) = Internal Carotid artery
  • 10 = CN 10 (Vagus nerve)
  • CC = Common Carotid artery
  • IV = Internal Jugular Vein

13. Cartilage derivatives of 1st pharyngeal arch (mandibular)

"I'M A Super Sexy Guy" (or Girl):

  • Incus
  • Malleus
  • Anterior ligament of malleus
  • Spine of sphenoid
  • Sphenomandibular ligament
  • Genial tubercle of mandible


14. Cavernous sinus: contents


O TOM are lateral wall components, in order from superior to inferior.

CA are the components within the sinus, from medial to lateral. CA ends at the level of T from O TOM.

  • Occulomotor nerve (III)
  • Trochlear nerve (IV)
  • Ophthalmic nerve (V1)
  • Maxillary nerve (V2)
  • Carotid artery
  • Abducent nerve (VI)
  • T: When written, connects to the T of OTOM.


15. Cranial bones:Names​​​​​​

"Old Pygmies From Thailand Eat Skulls":

  • Occipital
  • Parietal
  • Frontal
  • Temporal
  • Ethmoid
  • Sphenoid


Old People From Texas Eat Spiders


16. Cranial bones:Names

"PEST OF 6":

  • Parietal
  • Ethmoid
  • Sphenoid
  • Temporal
  • Occipital
  • Frontal

 NB: The 6 just reminds that there's 6 of them to remember.

17. Cranial bones:Names​​​​​​

Fraternity Parties Occasionally Teach Spam E​​​​​​tiquette:

The first two letters of each bone:

  • Frontal
  • Parietal
  • Occipital
  • Temporal
  • Sphenoid
  • Ethmoid


18. Cervical plexusarrangement of the important nerves


  4 compass points: clockwise from north on the right side of neck:

  • Great auricular
  • Lesser occipital
  • Accessory nerve pops out between L and S
  • Supraclavicular
  • Transverse cervical


19. CN VII innervated muscles (branchial arch 2 derivatives)

"Imagine someone making the facial expression to say 'PSS...' ":

  • Facial expression muscles
  • Posterior belly of digastric
  • Stapedius
  • Stylohyoid


20. Cricoarytenoidsabductor vs. adductor

  • When aliens abduct you, they Probe you.
  • Posterior cricoarytenoids abduct. Lateral therefore is adduct by default.


21. Earbones of inner ear

From outer part to inner part

  • Take a Hammer: Malleus
  • Hit an Indian Elephant: Incus
  • It puts its foot in a stirrup: Stapes




  "Mailing Includes Stamps".


22. External carotid arterybranches

"Some Anatomists Like F​​​​acia, Others Prefer M":

  • Superior thyroid
  • Ascending pharyngeal
  • Lingual
  • Facial
  • Occipital
  • Posterior auricular
  • Superficial temporal
  • Maxillary


23. External carotid arterybranches

"Some Angry Ladies Figured Out PMS":

  • Superior thyroid
  • Ascending pharyngeal
  • Lingual
  • Facial
  • Occipital
  • Posterior auricular
  • Maxillary
  • Superificial temporal

24. External jugular veintributaries


  • Posterior external jugular vein
  • Anterior jugular vein
  • Suprascapular vein
  • Transverse cervical vein

25. Extraocular musclescranial nerve innervation

"LR6 SO4 AO3":

  • Lateral Rectus is 6th
  • Superior Oblique is 4th
  • All Others 3rd cranial nerve

26. Extraocular musclesmovements

"ObliqLiques cause lateral rotation of eyeball":

NB: Obliques cause lateral, all other rectii are medial rotators of the eyeball.

  • Action of the obliques is opposite to their names.
  • Action of the rectii is rightly fitting to their names.
  • Both superiors cause intorsion and both inferiors cause extorsion.

27. Extrinsic muscles of tongue [for pro soccer fans]

"Paris StGermain's Hour":

  • Palatoglossus
  • Styloglossus
  • Genioglossus
  • Hyoglossus

NB: PSG is a French soccer team (foreign), hence extrinsic comes to mind.


28. Eye rotation by oblique muscles

"I Love Salma Maryam":

  • Inferior oblique: Lateral eye rotation.
  • Superior oblique: Medial eye rotation.

29. Facial bones: Names

"Virgil Can Not Make MPet Zebra Laugh!":

  • Vomer
  • Conchae
  • Nasal
  • Maxilla
  • Mandible
  • Palatine
  • Zygomatic
  • Lacrimal

30. Face muscleslarge muscle groups' cranial innervation

  • Mandibular nerve: Mastication.
  • Facial nerve: Facial expression.


31. Facial nervebranches

"Two Zombies Buggered MCat":

   From superior to inferior:

  • Temporal branch
  • Zygomatic branch
  • Buccal branch
  • Mandibular branch
  • Cervical branch

32. Facial nervebranches after Stylomastoid foramen

"Ten Zulus Buggered MCat (Painfully)":

       *From superior to inferior:

  • Temporal branch
  • Zygomatic branch
  • Buccal branch
  • Mandibular branch
  • Cervical branch
  • Posterior auricular nerve


33. Foramen ovalecontents


  • Mandibular nerve
  • Accessory meningeal artery
  • Lesser petrosal nerve
  • Emissary veins

34. Foramen ovalecontents


  • Otic ganglion (just inferior)
  • V3 cranial nerve
  • Accessory meningeal artery
  • Lesser petrosal nerve
  • Emissary veins


35. Foramen spinosumlocation on base of skull

  • Foramen spinosum is adjacent to the spine of sphenoid.


36. Horner's syndromecomponents


  • Sunken eyeballs/ Symphathetic plexus (cervical) affected
  • Ptosis
  • Anhydrosis
  • Miosis


37. Horner's syndromecomponents


  • Horner's is:
  • Ptosis
  • Anhidrosis
  • Miosis


38. Hyoid bonemuscle attachments 

Calm! He Didn't Screw Girls Much. That's Obviously Stupidity​​​​

NB: The first sentence is for 6 muscles attaching superiorly, the second sentence is for 3 muscles attaching inferiorly.


Both sentences are in order from lateral to medial:

Constricter (middle)

  • Hyoglossus
  • Digastric
  • Stylohyoid
  • Geniohyoid
  • Myloyoid
  • Thyrohyoid
  • Omohyoid
  • Sternohyoid


39. Inferior vena cava: tributaries

"I Like TRise SHigh":

  • Illiacs
  • Lumbar
  • Testicular
  • Renal
  • Suprarenal
  • Hepatic vein.

NB: Think of the IVC wanting to rise high up to the heart.


40. Internal jugular veintributaries

"Medical Schools Let Confident People In":

From inferior to superior:

  • Middle thyroid
  • Superior thyroid
  • Lingual
  • Common facial
  • Pharyngeal
  • Inferior petrosal sinus

41. Lacrimal nerve: course

  • "Lacrimal's story of 8 L's":
  • Lacrimal nerve runs on Lateral wall of orbit above Lateral rectus, then Lets communicating branch join

42. Lingual nerve: course

  • The Lingual nerve
  • Took a curve
  • Around the Hyoglossus. "Well I'll be fucked!" Said Wharton's Duct, "The bastard's gone and crossed us!"


43. Maxillary arterybranches

"DAM I AM Piss Drunk But Stupid Drunk I Prefer, Must Phone Alcoholics Anonymous":

  • Deep auricular
  • Anterior tympanic
  • Middle meningeal
  • Inferior alveolar
  • Accessory meningeal
  • Masseteric
  • Pterygoid
  • Deep temporal
  • Buccal
  • Sphenopalatine
  • Descending palatine
  • Infraorbital
  • Posterior superior alveolar
  • Middle superior alveolar
  • Pharyngeal
  • Anterior superior alveolar
  • Artery of the pterygoid canal

44. Nasal cavity: components

"Never Call MNeedle Nose!":

  • Nares [external]
  • Conchae
  • Meatuses
  • Nares [internal]
  • Nasopharynx

 Note mnemonic sentence is nasally-related.


45. Orbitbones of medial wall

"MLittle Eye Sits in the orbit":

  • Maxilla (frontal process)
  • Lacrimal
  • Ethmoid
  • Sphenoid (body)


46. Pterygoid musclesfunction of lateral vs. medial

"Look at how your jaw ends up when saying first syllable of 'Lateral' or 'Medial' ":

  • "La": your jaw is now open, so Lateral opens mouth.
  • "Me": your jaw is still closed, so medial closes the mandible.


47. Scalp: layers


From superficial to deep:

  • Skin
  • Connective tissue
  • Aponeurosis
  • Loose areolar tissue
  • Pericranium

48. Scalpnerve supply


  • Greater occipital/ Greater auricular
  • Lesser occipital
  • Auriculotemporal
  • Supratrochlear
  • Supraorbital


49. Superior orbital fissurestructures passing through​​​​​​

Lazy French Tarts Lie Naked IAnticipation OSex:

  • Lacrimal nerve
  • Frontal nerve
  • Trochlear nerve
  • Lateral nerve
  • Nasociliary nerve
  • Internal nerve
  • Abducens nerve
  • Ophthalmic veins
  • Sympathetic nerves


50. Superior orbital fissurestructures passing through

Lonely Fat Teenage Virgins Rarely Like Swallowing And N​​​​​​ever Ingest:​​

  • Lacrimal nerve
  • Frontal nerve
  • Trochlear nerve
  • Vein: ophthalmic
  • Ring: tendinous

     *From the ring, arises:

  • Lateral rectus
  • Superior division III
  • Abducent nerve
  • Nasociliary nerve
  • Inferior divison III


51. Superior orbital fissurestructures passing through

"Live Free TSee Absolutely NInsult":

  • Lacrimal nerve
  • Frontal nerve
  • Trochlear nerve
  • Superior branch of oculomotor nerve
  • Abducent nerve
  • Nasociliary nerve
  • Inferior branch of oculomotor nerve


52. Superior thyroid arterybranches

"May I Softly Squeeze Charlie's Girl?":

  • Muscular
  • Infrahyoid
  • Superior laryngeal
  • Sternomastoid
  • Cricothyroid
  • Glandular

53. Thyroid isthmus: location

  • "Rings 2,3,4 make the isthmus floor":
  • Isthmus overlies tracheal rings 2,3,4


54. Thyroidsrelative sizes

  • Thyroid looks like a bra
  • Breasts are bigger in women, so thyroid bigger in women.
  • Pregnant women have biggest breasts of all, so they have the biggest thyroids.


55. TonsilsThe three types

"PPL (people) have tonsils":

  • Pharyngeal
  • Palatine
  • Lingual


56. Trigeminal nervewhere branches exit skull

"Standing Room Only":

  • Superior orbital fissure is V1
  • foramen Rotundum is V2
  • foramen Ovale is V3


57. Vagus nervepath into thorax

"I Left my Aunt in Vegas":

Left Vagus nerve goes Anterior descending into the thorax.


58. Voiceboxnames of parts in sagittal cross-section

"There's 3 V's in your Voicebox":

  • Vestibular fold
  • Ventricle
  • Vocal fold

Note: Vestibular and Vocal cord also known as false and true cords respectively. 


59. V3: innervated muscles

"My Aunt Move The Tv":

  • Mylohyoid
  • Anterior digastric
  • Muscles of Mastication
  • Tensor veli palatini
  • Tensor tympani

60. V3: innervated muscles (branchial arch 1 derivatives)

"M.D. My TV":

  • Mastication [masseter, temporalis, pterygoids]
  • Digastric [anterior belly]
  • Mylohyoid
  • tensor Tympani
  • tensor Veli palatini


61. V3sensory branches

"Buccaneers Are Inferior Linguists":

  • Buccal
  • Auriculotemporal
  • Inferior alveolar
  • Lingual

62. Vagal nervepath into thorax

Vagus nerve, unlike phrenic, continues through diaphragm with esophagus--it is "Not Left Behind":

  *The left vagus is anterior, right is posterior [behind].

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