Surface anatomy is the study of the body surface. It forms the basis of the physical examination (“physical”) performed by doctors and nurses. Essentially all examinations begin with surface anatomy and then proceed to other visualization techniques, such as X ray, MRI, or even exploratory surgery. The goal of surface anatomy is to determine as best as possible conditions beneath the skin from outside inspection. This requires an intimate understanding of the natural curves, bumps, and dimples normally visible on the surface so that abnormal conditions can be detected effectively.
Use the pictures below to identify surface anatomy features and landmarks across the body.