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MRI of the lower extremity anatomy - atlas of the human body using cross-sectional imaging

Antoine Micheau, MD, Denis Hoa, MD

Published on Monday 25 August 2008

SECTION: Musculoskeletal anatomy (upper and lower extremities)

Images and anatomical references

The cross sectional human anatomic atlas of the lower limb is an interactive tool based on MR axial images of the human leg.


Atlas of anatomy of the whole human body : loading page  of the lower limb anatomy (MR)


Anatomical structures of the lower limb (hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle and foot) and particular regions (compartment of the lower limb) are visible as dynamic labelled images.


Cross sectional anatomy of the hip : axial slice of MRI with all anatomical structures labeled.


Cross sectional anatomy: MRI of the lower limb


A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on a healthy subject; with an axial spin-echo T1 weighted acquisition covering the entire human leg.

Anatomy of the thigh : anterior and posterior muscular compartment, femur, femoral artery and vein, siatic and femoral nerve, saphenous vein


From a PACS (Picture Archiving and Communicating System), data and DICOM images were exported as JPEG images. The images were resized and colours were added with Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Flash allowed us to develop an atlas-based application with an amazing functionality and user interface for exploration of the human skeleton anatomy.

This module is a comprehensive and affordable learning tool for medical students and residents and especially for physicians, anatomists, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons and radiologists. It is also a fundamental communication tool to teach patients anatomy and pathology.

It provides access to an atlas and to images in the axial planes, allowing the user to learn and review orthopaedic anatomy interactively. Images are labelled, providing an invaluable teaching resource.

We used the Terminologia Anatomica to create anatomic labels. This terminology is the international standard on human anatomy (it supersedes the previous standard, Nomina Anatomica since 1998). It was developed by the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) and the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA).


Gross anatomy of the human body : popliteal fossa with all anatomical structures in medical imaging (mr) : arteries, muscles, nerves, bones, veins, tendos...


Anatomy of the lower limb (hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle and foot): how to visualize anatomic labels


The horizontal menu gives access to groups of anatomical structures that can be chosen by the user:

  • Arteries
  • Veins
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Bones
  • Nerves


Cross section of the leg : muscular compartment, bones (tibia, fibula) and muscles


As the cursor is moved over a particular compartment of the lower thigh or the leg, that compartment is highlighted and labelled: anterior, medial, lateral or posterior compartment.

The vertical left menu provides an illustration of a lower limb skeleton based on a three dimensional (3D) model that simplifies access to the anatomical regions.

The test mode allows comprehensive evaluation of user progress.

Anatomical parts

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