Anatomy mnemonics

Anatomy mnemonics

Afferent vs efferent

Afferent connection arrives and an efferent connection exits.

Anterior leg muscles

The Hospitals Are Not Dirty Places”

  • Tibialis anterior
  • extensor Hallucis longus
  • anterior tibial Artery
  • deep fibular Nerve
  • extensor Digitorum longus
  • Peronius tertius [aka fibularis tertius]

Brachial plexus

Remember To Drink Cold Beer – Roots, Trunks, Divisions, Cords, Branches

  • Posterior cord branches

o   STAR – subscapular (upper and lower), thoracodorsal, axillary, radial

o RATSRadial nerve, Axillary nerve, Thoracodorsal nerve, Subscapular (Upper & Lower)nerve.

o   ULTRA – upper subscapular, lower subscapular, thoracodorsal, radial, axillary

o ULNARUpper subscapular nerve, Lower subscapular nerve,Nerve to latissimus dorsi, Axillary nerve, Radial nerve.

  • Lateral Cord Branches

o   LLM “Lucy Loves Me” – lateral pectoral, lateral root of the median nerve, musculocutaneous

o Love Me Latha (LML) – Lateral pectoral nerve, Musculocutaneous nerve, Lateral root of Median Nerve.

o   Look My Lancer-Lateral pectoral nerve, Musculocutaneous nerve,Lateral root of Median nerve.

  • Medial Cord Branches

o   MMMUM “Most Medical Men Use Morphine” – medial pectoral, medial cutaneous nerve of arm, medial cutaneous nerve of forearm, ulnar, medial root of the median nerve

o   “Money Makes Many Men Unhappy” – Medial pectoral nerve, Medial cutaneous nerve of arm, Medial cutaneous nerve of forearm, Medial root of median nerve, Ulnar nerve.

o   “M4U” – Medial pectoral nerve, Medial cutaneous nerve of arm, Medial cutaneous nerve of forearm, Medial root of median nerve, Ulnar nerve

o Union of 4 Medials – Ulnar nerve, Medial cutaneous nerve of arm, Medial cutaneous nerve of forearm, Medial pectoral nerve, Medial root of Median Nerve.

  • 5 main nerves of brachial plexus, in order laterally to medially

o   “My Aunty Rocks My Uncle” – Musculocutaneous, axillary, radial, median, ulnar.

Bowel components

Dow Jones Industrial Average Closing Stock Report”

From proximal to distal:

  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum
  • Appendix
  • Colon
  • Sigmoid
  • Rectum

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


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)
  • Carotid artery
  • Abducent nerve (VI)
  • T: When written, connects to the T of OTOM

Celiac trunk(Coeliac trunk): branches

Left Hand Side (LHS):

  • Left gastric artery
  • Hepatic artery
  • Splenic artery

Vertebral column

can this little servant cook ?

  • Cervical (atlas, axis)
  • thoracic
  • lumbar
  • sacral
  • coccygeal

Tributaries of the Inferior vena cava

I Like To Rise So High”

  • Iliac vein (common)
  • Lumbar vein
  • Testicular vein
  • Renal vein
  • Suprarenal vein
  • Hepatic vein[2]

Greater sciatic foramen

Structures passing through greater sciatic foramen below piriformis (S.N.I.P. N.I.P.)

  • sciatic nerve
  • nerve to obturator internus
  • internal pudendal vessel
  • pudendal nerve
  • nerve to quadratus femoris
  • inferior gluteal vessels
  • posterior cutaneous nerve of thigh

Lesser sciatic foramen

Structures passing through lesser sciatic foramen: (P.I.N.T.)

  • pudendal nerve
  • internal pudendal vessels
  • nerve to obturator internus
  • tendon of obturator internus

Tarsal tunnel

a mnemonic to remember the contents of the Tarsal tunnel from anterior to posterior is “Tom, Dick and Harry“.[3][4][5] or alternatively “Tom, Dick (and very nervous) Harry” if the artery, vein, and nerve are included.

Subclavian artery

The branches of the subclavian artery can be remembered using VITamin C and D.

Posterior mediastinum

The contents of posterior mediastinum can be remembered using the mnemonic, “DATES

  • Descending aorta
  • Azygous vein and hemiazygos vein
  • Thoracic duct
  • Esophagus
  • Sympathetic trunk/ganglia.[6]

Superior orbital fissure

Standing room only can be used to remember that:

  • V1 passes through the superior orbital fissure
  • V2 through the foramen rotundum
  • V3 through the foramen ovale.[7]

Foramen magnum[

Contents of the foramen magnum: VAMPS-ATM OR VAMPires Sing AT Midnight

  • Vertebral arteries
  • Anterior Spinal artery
  • Meningeal branches of the cervical nerves
  • Posterior spinal arteries
  • Spinal part of the accessory nerve
  • Alar and Apical ligaments of the dense
  • Tectorial membrane
  • Medulla oblongata


Deep cerebellar nuclei and their positions relative to the midline: “Fat Guys Eat Donuts,” where each letter indicates the medial to lateral location in the cerebellar white matter

  • nucleus fastigii
  • globose nucleus
  • nucleus emboliformis
  • dentate nucleus

Pes anserinus

A mnemonic to remember the muscles that contribute tendons to the pes anserinus and the innervations of these muscles is SGT FOT (sergeant FOT)

  • S- Sartorius
  • G- Gracilis
  • T- semiTendinosus (from anterior to posterior).
  • F- femoral nerve
  • O- obturator nerve
  • T- tibial division of the sciatic nerve.

Notice the order of the muscles (S, G, T) follows the order of the innervating nerves which correspond to those muscles (F, O, T)[

Another anterior to posterior is “Say Grace before Tea” Sartorius, Gracilis, semiTendinosus.

Femoral triangle

The femoral triangle is shaped like the sail of a sailing ship and hence its boundaries can be remembered using the mnemonic, “SAIL“:

  • Sartorius
  • Adductor longus
  • Inguinal Ligament.[8]

The order of structures in the femoral triangle is important in the embalming of bodies, as the femoral artery is often exposed and used to pump embalming fluids into the body. The order of this neurovascular bundle can be remembered using the mnemonic, “NAVY“:

  • Nerve
  • Artery
  • Vein
  • Y -fronts (the British term of a style of men’s underwear with a “Y” shaped front that acts as a fly). The “Y” is midline (corresponding with the penis) and the mnemonic always reads from lateral to medial (in other words, the Femoral Nerve is always lateral).

An alternate to this mnemonic is “NAVEL” for Nerve, Artery, Vein, Empty Space and Lymph, to include the deep inguinal lymph nodes located medial to the Femoral vein.

Popliteal fossa

A useful mnemonic to remember popliteal fossa anatomy (medial-to-lateral arrangement) is: Serve And Volley Next Ball.

  • S: semimembranosus and semitendinosus (superior medial border)
  • A: artery (popliteal artery)
  • V: vein (popliteal vein)
  • N: nerve (tibial nerve)
  • B: biceps femoris (superior lateral border). The lateral and medial heads of gastrocnemius form the inferior border.[9]

Cranial nerves

There are many mnemonics for the names of the cranial nerves, e.g.

  • “OOOTTAFAGVSH” is “OLd OPen OCeans TROuble TRIbesmen ABout Fish VEnom Giving VArious ACute/SPlitting Headaches” (a mnemonic that gives enough letters to distinguish between nerves that start with the same letter), or “On old Olympus’s towering tops, a Finn and German viewed some hops,”[10] and for the initial letters “OOOTTAFVGVAH” is “Oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel very good velvet … ah, heaven.”[11] The differences between these depend on “acoustic” versus “vestibulocochlear” and “spinal-accessory” versus “accessory”.
  • A common example mnemonic for remembering which nerves are motor (M), sensory (S), or both (B), “Some Say Marry Money But My Brother Says Benevolent Bride Matters More”. There are a very large number of additional mnemonics.[12]
  • For the five branches of the facial nerve there are: Two Zebras Bit My Cookie or To Zanzibar By MotorCar
List of mnemonics for the cranial nerves, their respective type and foramen
NERVE: Olfactory nerve Optic nerve Oculomotor nerve Pathic (Trochlear) nerve Trigeminal (dentist) nerve Abducens nerve Facial nerve Vestibulo-cochlear (Auditory) nerve Glosso-pharyngeal nerve Vagus nerve Spinal Accessory nerve Hypoglossal nerve
Ophthalmic Maxillary Mandibular
(for nerve)
OLd OPen OCeans TROuble TRIbesmen ABout Fish VEnom Giving VArious ACute / SPlitting Headaches
TYPE: Sensory Sensory Motor Motor Both (sensory + motor) Motor Both Sensory Both Both Motor Motor
(for type)
Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Business Makes Money
FORAMINA: Cribriform plate Optic canal Superior Orbital Fissure Superior Orbital Fissure Superior Orbital Fissure Foramen Rotundum Foramen Ovale Superior Orbital Fissure Internal Acoustic Meatus Internal Acoustic Meatus Jugular Foramen Jugular Foramen Jugular Foramen Hypoglossal Canal
(for foramina)
Cleaners Only Spray Smelly Stuff Right On Smelly Idiots In Jumbled Junkyards Juggled High
Carl Only Swims South. Silly Roger Only Swims In Infiniti Jacuzzis. Jane Just Hitchhikes.

Diaphragm apertures: spinal levels

Many mnemonics are used for diaphragm apertures including:

Number of letters

  • Aortic hiatus = 12 letters = T12
  • Oesophagus = 10 letters = T10
  • Vena cava = 8 letters = T8[1]p.

I ate 10 eggs at 12

  • I = IVC
  • ate = T8
  • 10 = T10
  • Eggs = Esophagus
  • At = Aorta
  • 12 = T12

“I Read Very Old And Torn Articles” – IVC, Right phrenic nerve, Vagus, Oesophagus, Aorta, Thoracic duct, Azygous vein.

(V)oice (O)f (A)merica

  • V- vena cava -T8
  • O-oesophagus-T10
  • A-aorta-T12

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

Endocrine glands

The major glands of the endocrine system, excluding ovaries and testes: “T-A-P.” (T2, A3, P4)

  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Anterior pituitary
  • Adrenal cortex
  • Adrenal medulla
  • Posterior pituitary
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Pancreas
  • Pineal[15]

G.I. tract layers (simplified)


  • Mucosa
  • Submucosa
  • Muscularis propria
  • Serosa[16]

Kidney functions


  • A – maintaining ACID-base balance
  • W – maintaining WATER balance
  • E – ELECTROLYTE balance
  • T – TOXIN removal
  • B – BLOOD Pressure control
  • D – Vitamin D metabolism

Lateral geniculate nucleus

A simple mnemonic for remembering this[clarify] is “See I? I see, I see,” with “see” representing the C in “contralateral,” and “I” representing the I in “ipsilateral.” Another is “Emily and Pete meet eye to eye” as in “M and P meet I to I,” or again, Magno and Parvo meet Ipsi to Ipsi.

Another way of remembering this[clarify] is 2+3=5, which is correct, so ipsilateral side, and 1+4 doesn’t equal 6, so contralateral.

Placenta-crossing substances

WANT My Hot Dog

  • Wastes
  • Antibodies
  • Nutrients
  • Teratogens
  • Microorganisms
  • Hormones, HIV
  • Drugs


A mnemonic to remember the layers of the retina:

My Membrane (internal limiting)
Nerves Nerve fibers
Get Ganglions
In Inner plexiform
Knots Inner nuclear
Outside Outer plexiform
Our Outer nuclear
Easy External limiting membrane
Practice Photoreceptors
Review Retinal pigment epithelium

Sperm: path through male reproductive system

“My boyfriend’s name is STEVE“:

  • Seminiferous Tubules
  • Epididymis
  • Vas deferens
  • Ejaculatory duct

Sternal angle

For structures lying at the level of the sternal angle, the following mnemonic can be used:


  • Rib 2
  • Aortic arch
  • Tracheal bifurcation
  • Pulmonary trunk
  • Ligamentum arteriosum
  • Left recurrent laryngeal
  • Azygos Vein
  • Nerves (Cardiac and Pulmonary plexuses)
  • Thoracic duct


is a more detailed mnemonic including:

  • Phrenic and Vagus Nerve
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Oblique fissure of lungs (top of it)
  • Thymus
  • Esophagus (trending right to left)
  • Aortic Arch (bottom of the arch)
  • Rib 2, Manubrium-sternal angle, T4(more specifically T4-5 disc)
  • Tracheal Bifurcation (Carina: Latin –like keel of boat)
  • Heart
  • Pulmonary trunk bifurcation
  • L2 : Left Recurrent Laryngeal (Looping under Aorta); Ligamentum Arteriosum: Connects Aortic Arch to Pulmonary. Bifurcation
  • Azygous vein arches over the root of the Rt. Lung and opens in SVC.
  • Nerve plexi: Cardiac and Pulmonary Plexus
  • Thoracic duct (on its way to drain into the Left Subclavian)
  • SVC going down


  • Breakfast at 7:00— 7 cervical vertebrae
  • Lunch at 12:00— 12 thoracic vertebrae
  • Dinner at 5:00— 5 lumbar vertebrae[18]


  • Carpal bones:

Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can’t Handle:
Scaphoid, Lunatum, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate and Hamate

  • Carpal Bones:

She Looks Too Pretty Try To Catch Her:
Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate and Hamate

  • Carpal bones:

Scabby Lucy Tried Pissing Hours after Copulating Two Twins:
Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Hamate, Capitate, Trapezoid, and Trapezium:
In clockwise order from Scaphoid-remember zoids do not touch each other. M. Hall

  • Carpal bones:

So Long To Pinky Here Comes The Thumb:
Straight Line To Pinky Here Comes The Thumb:
Scaphoid, Lunatum, Triquetrum, Pisiforme, Hamate, Capitate, Trapezoid, Trapezium

Internal iliac artery: branches

I Like Going Places Using My Very Own Unmanned Vehicle
Posterior division:

  • Iliolumbar artery
  • Lateral sacral artery
  • Superior gluteal artery

Anterior division:

  • Inferior gluteal artery
  • Internal pudendal artery
  • Umbilical artery
  • Middle rectal artery
  • Superior and inferior vesical artery
  • Obturator artery
  • Uterine artery (female)
  • Vaginal artery (female)

Coronal section of brain (structures)

“In Extremis, Cannibals Eat People’s Globus Pallidi Instead of Their Hearts”:

From insula to midline:

  • Insula
  • Extreme capsule
  • Claustrum
  • External capsule
  • Putamen
  • Globus pallidus
  • Internal capsule
  • Thalamus
  • Hypothalamus

Anterior Pituitary Hormones


  • FSH
  • LH
  • ACTH
  • GH
  • TSH
  • MelanOcyte Stimulating Hormone
  • Prolactin          anatomy mnemonics

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