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I asked this question in the English language section but was advised to repost this question in this section instead.

So, if "X is posterior to Y" means "X is behind Y".

Then, if the statement is "X is related posteriorly to Y", does it mean:

"X is behind Y" or

"Y is behind X"?

As for "Posteriorly, X is related to Y", does it mean:

"X is behind Y" or

"Y is behind X"?

These sentences were written as such in several anatomy textbooks.

Eg 1 "The iliopsoas is related anteriorly to the fascia lata and the femoral artery, and posteriorly to the capsule of the hip joint."

Eg 2 "Sigmoid and rectum are related anteriorly to the bladder."

Eg 3 "Medially, this muscle is related to the bodies of the lumbar vertebrae and vessels." (My interpretation: The muscle is on the outer/lateral side whereas the vertebrae/vessels are on the inner/medial side).

In Eg 1, the usage of "related anteriorly to" in this sentence seems to imply that the iliopsoas is in between the fascia lata/femoral artery and the hip joint, whereas, in Eg 2, the sentence seems to mean that the bladder is in front of the sigmoid and rectum.

However, if "related anteriorly to" means the same as "anterior to"/"in front of", then these sentences would be wrong, wouldn't they? Eg 1 would instead mean the iliopsoas is in front of the fascia lata/femoral artery but behind the hip joint. Eg 2 would instead mean sigmoid/rectum are in front of the bladder.

Thank you for your explanation.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a cross-post : english.stackexchange.com/questions/492594/… – JMP Apr 8 '19 at 17:21
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    @JonMarkPerry I answered it in the English SE with diagrams and examples, as it seems to be an important distinction to make. Should I answer it here instead or inaddition? – DoctorWhom Apr 8 '19 at 23:32
  • @DoctorWhom; it's not a medical question - whether the liver is above or below the heart is well known with multiple references and is easily verifiable. The difference between 'X is above Y' and 'Y is above X' is a linguistic issue. – JMP Apr 9 '19 at 4:10
  • Looks like a dilemma ... maybe to specific for english and not really fitting for medicalsciences ....because of the predominantly medical significance, I would like to clarify here.as done on english – bummi Apr 9 '19 at 18:03
  • @DoctorWhom Closed here because your answer on English is more than adequate. – Carey Gregory Apr 10 '19 at 2:02
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The confusion arises from unnecessary use of Latin terms, especially their -ly forms, and the word order. All this can be simply made more clear.

Eg 1. The iliopsoas is related anteriorly to the fascia lata and the femoral artery, and posteriorly to the capsule of the hip joint.

In the front of the iliopsoas, there are fascia lata and femoral artery, and behind it, the capsule of the hip joint.

Eg 2. "Sigmoid and rectum are related anteriorly to the bladder.

In the front of the sigmoid and rectum lies the bladder.

Eg 3. "Medially, this muscle is related to the bodies of the lumbar vertebrae and vessels."

Medially to the muscle, there are bodies of the lumbar vertebrae and vessels.

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    I have never heard this phrasing in medical texts. It is EXTREMELY confusing, as it suggests the opposite; perhaps it is an archaic phrasing. It is far better phrased "the bladder is anterior to the sigmoid and rectum." – DoctorWhom Apr 8 '19 at 22:54
  • It is very unclear. Is this old terminology? – Carey Gregory Apr 9 '19 at 3:49
  • I concur with @DoctorWhom where Eg 2 is not correct. The sigmoid and rectum are actually posterior to the the bladder. – Chris Rogers Apr 10 '19 at 7:24
  • The Eg1 from the question says: "Sigmoid and rectum are related anteriorly to the bladder."...which is confusing, but correct, because it means that the bladder is in front of (anteriorly to) the rectum and sigmoid. My rewritten sentence is: "In the front of the sigmoid and rectum lies the bladder." All of this is correct. There is nothing wrong with anything in the question and, I believe, in my answer, it's only confusing. – Jan Apr 10 '19 at 7:29

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