Distal refers to sites located away from a specific area, usually 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.
Review Date: 2/4/2015
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeryMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.