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Anatomy of IOM
(toward the back)
(toward the front)
Fig. 2.3 A lateral drawing of the human trunk with
arrows indicating the relative terms of anterior and
Fig. 2.4 A drawing of the neuraxis illustrating the relative terms rostral, caudal, dorsal, and ventral
with the neuraxis (most notably as you approach
the level of the cerebral cortex). The dorsal–ventral
or anterior–posterior plane is perpendicular to the
rostral–caudal axis at any given point (Fig. 2.4).
Pathways moving from the peripheral nervous
system toward the central nervous system are
termed afferent pathways. These pathways are
sensory. Pathways that travel from the central
nervous system out toward the periphery are
termed efferent pathways. These pathways carry
motor information.
sists of all of the nerves that come off of the brain
(cranial nerves) and spinal cord (spinal nerves),
nerve plexuses, and peripheral nerves innervating
the various structures of the body.
Functional divisions of the nervous system
include the somatic and autonomic divisions. The
somatic nervous system governs voluntary
actions and provides motor output through the
action of the skeletal muscles. We will spend the
majority of time discussing the somatic nervous
system, as it is the division that is amenable to
neuromonitoring. However, a brief consideration
of the autonomic nervous system is warranted.
Organization of the Nervous
Autonomic Nervous System
The nervous system can be divided both anatomically and functionally. Anatomically we divide
the nervous system into the central and peripheral
nervous system. The central nervous system
(CNS) consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the
retina. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) con-
The autonomic nervous system governs “automatic” visceral or vegetative functions and operates generally at the unconscious level. Examples
of functions under autonomic control include respiration, heart rate, digestion, and sexual arousal.
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