Distal refers to sites located away from a specific area, most often the center of the body. In medicine, it refers to parts of the body further away from the center. For example, the hand is distal to the shoulder. The thumb is distal to the wrist.
Distal is the opposite of proximal. Distal refers to distance, while proximal indicates proximity.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary website. Distal. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distal. Accessed May 21, 2021.
Review Date 1/28/2021
Updated by: Evelyn O. Berman, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.