Coronal Plane Definition

The coronal plane, also called the frontal plane, is an anatomical term describing an imaginary division between an organism’s dorsal and ventral halves. Dorsal indicates an area toward the back or spine, while ventral indicates the direction away from the spine, typically toward the ground. The coronal plane runs along the longitudinal axis, or from the mouth to the anus. The term proximal describes the direction toward the coronal plane, while distal describes the direction away from the coronal plane. The coronal plane can be contrasted with sagittal plane, which also runs along the longitudinal axis, but separates the left half of the animal from the right. The transverse plane runs perpendicular to the coronal plane. These terms can be seen on the trout below.

Planes of Section

In human anatomy, the coronal plane and other anatomical terms apply to the same regions of humans as they describe in animals. Unlike most animals, humans exist in a vertical orientation, as opposed to a horizontal orientation. Therefore, the various planes and anatomical terms are represented in a vertical orientation. While this may look different than the anatomical presentation of an animal, the coronal plane still describes a plane that separates humans dorsoventrally, as seen in the following diagram.

Planes of Body

  • Sagittal Plane – An anatomical term describing a division along the longitudinal axis that divides the left and right sides of an organism.
  • Transverse Plane – A plane which runs perpendicular to the coronal plane, and separates an organism into anterior and posterior parts.
  • Dorsal – The direction towards the back or the top of an animal.
  • Ventral – The direction that points towards the belly of animal, typically oriented towards the ground.


1. A special medication for your pet dog has instructions for its administration. The directions say the shot must be given intramuscularly, anywhere on the dorsal side of the coronal plane. Which of the following is a good position for the shot?
A. In a muscular area of the shoulder
B. In the lower part of the back leg
C. In the muscular chest area, between the front legs

Answer to Question #1
A is correct. The only answer that describes an area that is dorsal to the coronal plane is answer A. The other two areas clearly exist below the middle-line of a dog, and would be considered ventral to the coronal plane.