Given that they're facing me and I'm facing them.

Excerpt from radiologist report:

... there is narrowing of the left neural foramen in comparison to the right ...

but whose?


  • Is there an international standard for this?
  • Does this convention differ in other fields of medicine?
  • 4
    It should be yours... Unless the doctor screwed up, it's yours.
    – L.B.
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 14:35
  • +1 because I have had this question for many year, now I have the answer.
    – Nobody
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


In medical documentation, being an X-ray, MRI, description of physical examination or other, the sides "right" and "left" should be always used from the perspective of the patient. So, the "left neural foramen" is on the patient's left-hand side.

Below is an X-ray image of the chest cavity. You can see the big letter "L" and all the "left" terms on the right side of the image, because this is a view from the front, so they are all point to the left parts of the body. The confusion could occur when someone points to the image and just says "here on the left," without saying "side of the body " or "image." Anyway , when a doctor says something is on the left side, it should be always on your left.

An X-ray image of the chest showing the letter L on the side where the heart is (Source: Lifeinthefastline, CC licence)

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