High-Yield Anatomy mnemonics
Bowel components High-yield
“Dow Jones Industrial Average Closing Stock Report”:
From proximal to distal:
Alternatively: to include the cecum, “Dow Jones Industrial Climbing Average Closing Stock Report”.
Diaphragm apertures: spinal levels Hi-Yield
Aortic hiatus = 12 letters = T12
Oesophagus = 10 letters = T10
Vena cava = 8 letters = T8
Duodenum: lengths of parts
“Counting 1 to 4 but staggered”:
1st part: 2 inches
2nd part: 3 inches
3rd part: 4 inches
4th part: 1 inch
Liver inferior markings showing right/left lobe vs. vascular divisions
There’s a Hepatic “H” on inferior of the liver. One vertical stick of the H is the dividing line for the anatomical
right/left lobe and the other vertical stick is the divider for vascular halves. Stick that divides the liver into
vascular halves is the one with vena cava impression (since vena cava carries blood, it’s fortunate that it’s
the divider for blood halves).
Meckel’s diverticulum details Hi-Yield
2 inches long.
2 feet from end of ileum.
2 times more common in men.
2% occurrence in the population.
2 types of tissues may be present.
Note: “di-” means “two”, so diverticulum is the thing with all the twos.
Aorta vs. vena cava: right vs. left High-Yield
Aorta and right each have 5 letters, so aorta is on the right.
Vena and cava and left each have 4 letters, so vena cava is on the left.
Aortic arch: major branch order
“Know your ABC’S”:
Aortic arch gives rise to:
left Common Carotid
Beware though trick question of ‘What is first branch of aorta?’ Technically, it’s the coronary arteries.
Atrioventricular valves High-Yield
Left Atrium: Bicuspid
Right Atrium: Tricuspid
Axillary artery branches
“Screw The Lawyer Save A Patient”:
Anterior circumflex humeral
Posterior circumflex humeral
Alternatively: “Some Times Life Seems A Pain”.
You might also be interested in some Pharmacology mnemonics in the mean time
Brachial artery: recurrent and collateral branches
“I Am Pretty Sexy”
Inferior ulnar collateral artery goes with the Anterior ulnar recurrent artery.
Posterior ulnar recurrent artery goes with the Superior ulnar collateral artery.
Alternatively: “I Am Pretty Smart”.
Carotid sheath contents
“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
Cavernous sinus contents High-Yield
O TOM CAT:
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)
Abducent nerve (VI)
T: When written, connects to the T of OTOM.
Coeliac trunk: branches High-Yield
Left Hand Side (LHS):
Left gastric artery
Descending abdominal aorta branches from diaphragm to iliacs
“Prostitutes Cause Sagging Swollen Red Testicles [in men] Living In Sin”:
Testicular [“in men” only]
External carotid artery branches
“Some Anatomists Like F*#king, Others Prefer S & M”:
Alternatively: As She Lay Flat, Oscar’s Passion Slowly Mounted”.
Femoral triangle: arrangement of contents High-Yield
From lateral hip towards medial navel:
Nerve (directly behind sheath)
Artery (within sheath)
Vein (within sheath)
Empty space (between vein and lymph)
Lymphatics (with deep inguinal node)
Nerve/Artery/Vein are all called Femoral.
Heart valve sequence
“Try Pulling My Aorta”:
Inferior vena cava tributaries
“I Like To Rise So High”:
Think of the IVC wanting to rise high up to the heart.
Internal iliac artery: anterior branches
What Bill admitted to Hilary: “I Milked Our Insatiable Intern’s Udders Under the Desk”:
Inferior vesical artery
Internal pudendal artery
U/D=Uterine artery (female)/ Deferential artery (male)
Internal jugular vein: tributaries
“Medical Schools Let Confident People In”:
From inferior to superior:
Inferior petrosal sinus
Liver: side with ligamentum venosum/ caudate lobe vs. side with quadrate lobe/ ligamentum teres
“VC goes with VC”:
The Venosum and Caudate is on same side as Vena Cava [posterior]. Therefore, quadrate and teres must
be on anterior by default.
See inferior-view diagram.
Lung lobe numbers: right vs. left High-Yield
Tricuspid heart valve and tri-lobed lung both on the right side.
Bicuspid and bi-lobed lung both on the left side.
Maxillary artery branches
“DAM I AM Piss Drunk But Stupid Drunk I Prefer, Must Phone Alcoholics Anonymous”:
Posterior superior alveolar
Middle superior alveolar
Anterior superior alveolar
Artery of the pterygoid canal
While you are down here, you must like mnemonics very much so here are some general surgery mnemonics for you
Portal-systemic anastomoses: main 2 places that retroperitoneals connect into systemic
RetroPeritoneals hook up with Renal and Paravertebral veins.
Saphenous veins: path of great vs. small at malleolus
“MAGdelaine has varicose veins” [The saphenous veins are important for varicose veins]:
Medial maleolus, Anterior to maleolus, and Great saphenous go together.
Then the opposites of these go together: Small saphenous is posterior to the lateral maleolus.
Thoracic cage: relations to the important venous structures
Behind the sternoclavicular joints: the brachiocephalic veins begin.
Behind the 1st costal cartilage on the right the superior vena cava begins.
Behind the 2nd costal cartilage on the right the azygos vein ends.
Behind the 3rd costal cartilage on the right the superior vena cava ends.
Thoracoacromial artery branches
From superficial to deep:
Loose areolar tissue
Ureter to ovarian/testicular artery relation
“Water under the bridge”:
The ureters (which carry water), are posterior to the ovarian/testicular artery.
Clinically important, since a common surgical error is to cut ureter instead of ovarian artery when removing uterus.
Spleen: dimensions, weight, surface anatomy
Spleen dimensions are 1 inch x 3 inches x 5 inches.
Weight is 7 ounces.
It underlies ribs 9 through 11.
Thoracic duct: relation to azygous vein and esophagus
“The duck between 2 gooses”:
Thoracic duct (duck) is between 2 gooses, azygous and esophagus.
“Spare TIRE around their abdomen”:
Internal abdominal oblique
External abdominal oblique
Anterior forearm muscles: superficial group
“Pimps F*ck Prostitutes For Fun”:
Flexor carpi radialis
Flexor carpi ulnaris
Flexor digitorum superficialis
Bicipital groove: attachments of muscles near it
“The lady between two majors”:
Teres major attaches to medial lip of groove.
Pectoralis major to lateral lip of groove.
Latissimus (Lady) is on floor of groove, between the 2 majors.
Brachioradialis: function, innervation, one relation, one attachment
Function: Its the Beer Raising muscle, flexes elbow, strongest when wrist is oriented like holding a beer.
Innervation: Breaks Rule: it’s a flexor muscle, But Radial. (Radial nerve usually is for extensors: Recall BEST rule: B was for
Important relation: Behind it is the Radial nerve in the cubital fossa.
Attachment: Attaches to Bottom of Radius.
Elbow: muscles that flex it
Three B’s Bend the elBow:
Knowledge Level 2, System: Muscle
Elbow: which side has common flexor origin [ID 6]
FM (as in FM Radio):
Flexor Medial, so Common Flexor Origin is on the medial side.
Erector spinae muscles
“I Love Sex”:
From lateral to medial:
Alternatively: “I Long for Spinach”
“Sex” helps you think of “Erector”, but “Long” and “Spinach” help you remember the muscles’ names.
Eye rotation by oblique muscles
“I Love S&M”:
Inferior oblique: Lateral eye rotation.
Superior oblique: Medial eye rotation.
Interossei muscles: actions of dorsal vs. palmar in hand
“PAd and DAb”:
The Palmar Adduct and the Dorsal Abduct.
Use your hand to dab with a pad.
Going for USMLE exam? here are some USMLE friendly mnemonics too
Intrinsic muscles of hand (palmar surface)
“A OF A OF A”:
Thenar, lateral to medial:
Abductor pollicis longus
Flexor pollicis brevis
Hypothenar, lateral to medial:
Opponens digiti minimi
Flexor digiti minimi
Abductor digiti minimi
Inversion vs. eversion muscles in the leg
Second letter rule for inversion/eversion:
Lumbrical action is to hold a pea, that is to flex the metacarpophalangeal joint and extend the
interphalangeal joints. When look at hand in this position, can see this makes an “L” shape, since L is for
Muscles: potentially absent ones
Muscles which may be absent but may be important:
Palmaris longus [upper limb]
Plantaris [lower limb]
Peroneus tertius [lower limb]
Pyramidalis [anterior abdominal wall]
Psoas minor [posterior abdominal wall]
Oblique muscles: the direction of externals vs. internals
“Hands in your pockets”:
When put hands in your pockets, fingers now lie on top of external obliques and fingers point their direction of fibers: down and towards
Note: “oblique” tells that must be going at an angle.
Internal obliques are at right angles to external.
Plantarflexion vs. dorsiflexion
Plantar flexion occurs when you squish a Plant with your foot.
Popliteal fossa: muscles arrangement
The two Semi’s go together, Semimembranosus and Semitendonosus.
The Membranosus is Medial and since the two semis go together, Semitendonosus is also medial.
Therefore, Biceps Femoris has to be lateral.
Of the semi’s, to remember which one is superficial: the Tendonosus is on Top.
Pterygoid muscles: the function 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.
Rotator cuff muscles High-Yield
“The SITS muscles”:
Clockwise from top:
A pro baseball pitcher has injured his rotator cuff muscles. As a result, he SITS out for the rest of the
game, and then gets sent to the minor leagues.
Serratus anterior: innervation
Serratus Anterior = Long Thoracic.
Serratus anterior: innervation and action High-Yield
“C5-6-7 raise your arms up to heaven”:
Long thoracic nerve roots (567) innervate Serratus anterior.
Test C567 roots clinically by ability to raise arm past 90 degrees.
Soleus vs. gastrocnemius muscle function
“Stand on your Soles. Explosive gas”:
You stand on soles of your shoes, so Soleus is for posture.
Gasoline is explosive, so Gastrocnemius is for explosive movement.
Supination vs. pronation
“SOUPination”: Supination is to turn your arm palm up, as if you are holding a bowl of soup.
“POUR-nation”: Pronation is to turn your arm with the palm down, as if you are pouring out whatever is your bowl.
Alternatively, Pronation donation: Pronation is palm facing downward, as if making a donation.
Bell’s palsy: symptoms High-Yield
Blink reflex abnormal
Lacrimation [deficient, excess]
Loss of taste
Palsy of VII nerve muscles
All symptoms are unilateral.
Brachial plexus branches High-Yield
“My Aunt Raped My Uncle”:
From lateral to medial:
Brachial plexus subunits
“Randy Travis Drinks Cold Beer”:
Alternatively: “Read The Damn Cadaver Book!”
Alternatively: “Real Texans Drink Coors Beer”.
Brachial plexus: branches of posterior cord
Subscapular [upper and lower]
Buttock quadrant safest for needle insertion High-Yield
“Shut up and butt out”:
The Upper Outer quadrant of the Buttock safely avoids hitting sciatic nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes High-Yield
Mnemonic fits nicely since median nerve is trapped.
Cervical plexus: arrangement of the important nerves
4 compass points: clockwise from north on the right side of neck:
Accessory nerve pops out between L and S
Deep tendon reflexes: root supply High-Yield
God designed body reflexes according to a nursery rhyme:
One, two– buckle my shoe. Three, four– kick the door. Five, six– pick up sticks. Seven, eight– shut the gate.
S1,2 = ankle jerk
L3,4 = knee jerk
C5,6 = biceps and brachioradialis
C7,8 = triceps
Diaphragm innervation High-Yield
“3, 4, 5 keeps the diaphragm alive”:
Diaphragm innervation is cervical roots 3, 4, and 5.
Extraocular muscles cranial nerve innervation High-Yield
“LR6SO4 rest 3”:
Lateral Rectus is 6th
Superior Oblique is 4th
rest are all 3rd cranial nerve
Facial nerve: branches after Stylomastoid foramen
“Ten Zulus Buggered My Cat (Painfully)”:
From superior to inferior:
(Posterior auricular nerve)
Alternatively: “PAssing Through Zanzibar By Motor Car” (PA for Posterior Auricular).
Median nerve: hand muscles innervated
“The LOAF muscles”:
Lumbricals 1 and 2
Abductor pollicis brevis
Flexor pollicis brevis
Alternatively: LLOAF, with 2 L’s, to recall there’s 2 lumbricals.
To remember that these are the Median nerve muscles, think “Meat LOAF”.
Median nerve: recognizing it in an opened axilla
The Median nerve is the Middle of a giant capital “M” formed by the musculocutaneous and ulnar nerves.
Pectoral nerves: the path of lateral vs. medial
“Lateral Less, Medial More”:
Lateral pectoral nerve only goes through Pectoralis major, but
Medial pectoral nerve goes though both Pectoralis major and minor.
Pelvis: sacral innervation
“S2,3,4 keeps the 3 P’s off the floor (Penis, Poo, and Pee).
S2,3,4 innervates the anal sphincter, urethral sphicter, and causes erection.
Penis autonomic innervation actions
“Parasympathetic Puts it up. Sympathetic Spurts it out”.
Alternatively: “Point and Shoot”: Parasympathetic Points it, Sympathetic Shoots out the semen.
Erection and Ejaculation (Emission).
Radial nerve: muscles innervated
“Try A Big Chocolate Chip Sundae, Double Dip Cherries And Peanuts Preferably Included”:
In order of their innervation, proximal to distal:
ext. Carpi radialis longus
ext. Carpi radialis brevis
ext. Carpi ulnaris
Abductor poll. longus
ext. Poll. brevis
ext. P poll. longus
For the neighboring words that start with the same letter (eg: chocolate and chip), notice that the longer word in the mnemonic,
corresponds to the longer of the two muscle names (ex: ext. carpi radialis longus and ext. carpi radialis brevis)
Radial nerve: muscles supplied (simplified)
Scalp: nerve supply
Greater occipital/ Greater auricular
Spinal cord: length in vertebral column High-Yield
Spinal Cord Until L2 (LL).
Thigh: innervation by compartment High-Yield
“MAP OF Sciatic”:
Medial compartment: Obturator
Anterior compartment: Femoral
Posterior compartment: Sciatic
So all the thigh muscles in that compartment get innervated by that nerve.
Trigeminal nerve: where branches exit skull High-Yield
“Standing Room Only”:
Superior orbital fissure is V1
foramen Rotundum is V2
foramen Ovale is V3
V3 innervated muscles (branchial arch 1 derivatives) High-Yield
“M.D. My TV”:
Mastication [masseter, temporalis, pterygoids]
Digastric [anterior belly]
tensor Veli palatini
V3: sensory branches
“Buccaneers Are Inferior Linguists”:
Vagus nerve: path into the thorax
“I Left my Aunt in Vegas”:
Left Vagus nerve goes Anterior descending into the thorax.
Anatomical planes: coronal, 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.
Cubital fossa contents
“Really Need Booze To Be At My Nicest”:
From lateral to medial
Hand: nerve lesions High-Yield
Median nerve=Ape hand (or Apostol [preacher] hand)
Inguinal canal: walls High-Yield
“MALT: 2M, 2A, 2L, 2T”:
Starting from superior, moving around in order to posterior:
Superior wall (roof): 2 Muscles:
internal oblique Muscle
transverse abdominus Muscle
Anterior wall: 2 Aponeuroses:
Aponeurosis of external oblique
Aponeurosis of internal oblique
Lower wall (floor): 2 Ligaments:
Posterior wall: 2Ts:
Mediastinums: posterior mediastinum structures
There are 4 birds:
The esophaGOOSE (esophagus)
The vaGOOSE nerve
The azyGOOSE vein
The thoracic DUCK (duct)
Perineal vs. peroneal
Perineal is in between the legs.
Peroneal is on the leg.
Retroperitoneal structures list High-Yield
Aorta & IVC
Colon (ascending & descending)
Esophagus (anterior & left covered)
Superior mediastinum contents
“BATS & TENT”:
Arch of aorta
Superior vena cava
Nerves (vagus & phrenic)
Superior mediastinum: contents High-Yield
PVT Left BATTLE:
Left recurrent laryngeal nerve (not the right)
Aortic arch (and its 3 branches)
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