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Definition Return to top
Distal refers to sites located away from a reference point. The hand is distal to the shoulder. The thumb is distal to the wrist. Usually, that reference point is the center or midline of the body.Update Date: 2/22/2009 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.