Branches of Human Anatomy:

Human anatomy is divided into following important branches;

Gross anatomy:

Gross anatomy is the study of macroscopic details of human body structure. Because gross anatomy is concerned only with macroscopic details, therefore it does not require the aid of any instrument. Generally, gross anatomy is studied on dead bodies because you cannot dissect a living human just to study anatomy; therefore gross anatomy is also known as cadaveric anatomy. There are two approaches to study gross anatomy: Systemic Approach and Regional Approach. In systemic approach, human body is studied in different systems and in a regional approach, human body is studied in different regions. The end result of both approaches is the same but generally, for students of surgery, regional approach is preferred.
For detailed gross anatomy of human body, visit: Human Body Systems

Living anatomy:

In contrast to the cadaveric anatomy, in living anatomy deals with the study of live human beings and not dead bodies, therefore methods like dissection cannot be applied. Techniques to study living anatomy include palpation, percussion, auscultation etc.


Embryology is also known as developmental anatomy. It is concerned with the study of the development of an embryo from a single cell to a complete human being. Embryology provides details of the prenatal and postnatal developmental changes in the body and the mechanisms by which these changes occur.


Histology is also known as microscopic anatomy. It deals with the study of microscopic details of tissues that make human body.

Surface anatomy:

Surface anatomy, as the named indicates, is anatomy of the surface of human body structures. It is also known as topographic anatomy. Surface anatomy establishes a relation between the internal structures of human body with its surface. It enables a medical professional to locate the position of internal organs from surface of the body and therefore it is very important for surgical operations. Sometimes surface anatomy is described as a sub-branch of gross anatomy but it is better to write it separately to highlight its importance.

Clinical anatomy:

Clinical anatomy is the application of anatomical knowledge to clinical practice. This branch is a more practical aspect of human anatomy and is of supreme importance for medical professionals.