Medical Glossary

Please see our Medical Glossary below.

- ECTOMY

Suffix meaning surgical removal (eg. Tonsillectomy – removal of the tonsils)

- OSCOPY

A suffix used to describe a procedure for looking into various parts of the body (eg. Lungs – bronchoscopy)

- OTOMY

Suffix meaning to make an opening surgically (eg. Tracheotomy – an opening in the trachea)

ADDISON’S DISEASE

A gross deficiency in cortisol secretion

ADENOIDS

Lymphatic tissue situated near the naso-pharynx

ADRENAL GLANDS

Two glands situated near the kidneys. They secrete hormone orientated substances

ADRENALECTOMY

Removal of an adrenal gland

ALVEOLI

Air sacks in the lung tissue

AMENORRHOEA

Absence of periods

ANAEMIA

A deficiency of red blood cells/haemoglobin in the blood

ANGINA

A tight pain in the chest due to insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle

ANGIOGRAPHY

Radiological examination of the heart and large blood vessels

ANTRAL WASHOUT

A procedure used to wash out infected debris in the sinuses

ANTROSTOMY

A small incision into the antral space for chronic infection

AORTA

Large artery coming from the heart

APPENDAGES

Hair and nails

ARTERIAL

Pertaining to an artery

ARTHRODESIS

Fixation of a joint

ARTHROPLASTY

Reconstruction of a joint

ARTHROSCOPY

The viewing of a joint (usually the knee) with a fibre optic instrument

ASTHMA

A common condition affecting the bronchioles resulting in wheezing

ASTROCYTOMA

A malignant tumour of the brain

ATRIA OR ATRIUM

Upper chambers of the heart

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION

Irregular pulse arising from the atria

AUDIOMETERY

A means of measuring hearing

AURISCOPE

An instrument for looking into the ears

AUTONOMIC AND PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

Voluntary and involuntary network of nerves

B.D.

Twice a day

BARIUM ENEMA

As above, to outline the colon/rectum

BARIUM MEAL/SWALLOW

An X-ray to outline the stomach using a radiopaque substance

BELL’S PALSY

A condition due to inflammation of the facial nerves

BLOOD GASES

A sample of blood taken from an artery to detect serum levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide

BLOOD SUGAR

A blood test to assess the serum level of glucose in the body/tissues

BONE MARROW ASPIRATION

A procedure for removing cells from the marrow of a bone to investigate a blood disorder

BONE SCAN

A comprehensive scan using radiopaque dye to detect skeletal abnormalities

BRONCHI

Two branches arising from the trachea that enter the lungs

BRONCHITIS

Acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchi

BRONCHOSCOPY

Examination of the bronchi by means of a fibre optic instrument

CALDWELL-LUC OPERATION

Drainage of the maxillary sinuses

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO)

A gas dissolved in water. A by-product of metabolism that leaves the body via the lungs

CARCINOMA OF THE LUNG

Malignant disease of the lung

CARDIAC ENZYMES

A blood test to assess the damage to the heart following an M.I.

CARDIOLOGY

Pertaining to diseases of the heart

CATARACT

An opaque lens inhibiting vision, quite common in older people

CATARACT EXTRACTION AND INSERTION OF AN INTRA OCCULAR LENS (IOL)

Removal of a cataract and insertion of a lens

CEREBRAL

Relating to the cerebrum which is the largest part of the brain

CEREBRAL ANGIOGRAPHY

Radiopaque x-rays to visualise the cerebral blood vessels

CEREBRAL SPINAL FLUID (CSF)

A clear fluid which occupies surrounding parts of the brain

CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENT (CVA)

A general term used to describe a stoke caused by either a blood clot or haemorrhage

CERVIX

Neck of the uterus

CHOLECSTOGRAPHY

Radiological examination of the gall bladder

CHOLECYSTECTOMY

CHOLESCINTIGRAPHY

CHOROID

The pigmented and vascular coat of the eye

CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE AIRWAYS DISEASE (C.O.A.D.)

A global term used to describe many chronic respiratory disorders

CIRCUMCISION

Excision of the foreskin of the penis

COAGULATION

A clotting mechanism of the blood

COCHLEA

A spiral canal in the inner ear

COLPORRHAPHY

Repair of the vagina

COLPOSCOPY

A means of visualising the cervix

CONJUNCTIVITIS

Inflammation of the conjunctiva surrounding the eye

CORNEA

The transparent portion of the eyeball

CORONARY ARTERY BI-PASS GRAFT

Major operation to remove a blocked coronary artery and replace it with a graft to improve the blood supply

CRANIOTOMY

An opening into the skull sometimes performed to relieve pressure or remove a tumour

CRANIUM

The bony cavity which contains the brain

CUSHING’S DISEASE

A condition resulting in the over secretion of hormones from the adrenal glands

CYSTOSCOPY

A means of looking into the bladder using a fibre optic instrument

DERMATOLOGY

Pertaining to diseases of the skin

DERMIS

The inner layer of the skin

DIABETES INSIPIDUS

A deficiency in anti-diuretic hormone (ADH)

DIABETES MELLITUS

A common long term condition resulting in excess sugar due to an inadequate supply of insulin

DILATATION AND CURETTAGE (D AND C)

A diagnostic procedure performed often for exploratory purposes

DISSEMINATED SCLEROSIS (MS)

Degeneration in the nerve sheath. This is a progressive illness

DYE STUDIES

A means of determining the patency of the uterine tubes often in conjunction with a laparoscopy. Frequently used in the management of infertility

DYSMENORRHOEA

Painful periods

EAR

This is made up of three parts – inner, middle and outer

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (E.C.G.)

A means of recording a heart rhythm

ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAM (EEG)

A means of visualising the electrical activity of the brain frequently used in the diagnosis of epilepsy

EMPHYSEMA

A chronic disease featuring abnormal distension of the alveoli (air sacks)

ENCEPHALITIS

Inflammation of the brain

ENDOCRINOLOGY

Pertaining to the diseases of endocrine glands

ENDOMETRIOSIS

Inflammation of the endometrium

ENDOMETRIUM

Lining of the uterus

ENUCLEATION

Removal of the eyeball

EPIDERMIS

The outer layer of the skin

EPILEPSY

Convulsions due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain

ERYTHEMA

An area of the skin in which the blood vessels become dilated causing redness

EUSTACHIAN TUBE

A tube that connects the middle ear to the naso-pharynx

EXCORIATION

An abrasion in which the epidermis is removed

FIBROIDS

Benign tissue found in the uterus

FISSURE

A split or crack through the skin

FORMATION OF AN ILEAL CONDUIT OR URINARY DIVERSION

A means of diverting urine into an opening in the ileum onto the abdomen

FULL BLOOD COUNT

Routine blood test to look at the number of white cells, red cells, platelets and haemoglobin there is in the blood

GASTROSCOPY

The viewing of the stomach through a fibre optic instrument

GENITALIA

Internal and external organs pertaining to reproduction

GERIATRIC

Pertaining to care of the elderly

GLAUCOMA

Increase in the intra-ocular pressure. It can be acute or more gradual

GLIOMA

A highly malignant tumour of the brain

GLOMERULUS

A group of intricate capillaries in the kidney

GREY MATTER

A part of the brain containing nerve cells

GROMMET

Usually inserted into the middle ear following above operation

HAEM

Pertaining to the blood

HAEMATOLOGY

Pertaining to diseases of the blood

HAEMOGLOBIN

Molecules that give blood the red colour and transport oxygen

HAEMOPHILIA

An inherited bleeding disorder affecting men

HAEMOSTASIS

Cessation of bleeding

HAIR FOLLICLES

Houses the root of the hair

HEART

A hollow muscular organ that pumps blood around the body

HIP REPLACEMENT

Insertion of a prosthesis to replace a diseased hip joint – sometimes the operation is named after the type of prosthesis used eg. Thompson’s

HYDATIDIFORM MOLE

An abnormal development of embryonic material that can become malignant

HYPOPHYSECTOMY

Removal of the pituitary gland

HYSTERECTOMY (Vaginal Or Abdominal)

Removal of the uterus

INCUS

A bone in the middle ear

INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS

Glandular fever

INSERTION OF A PACEMAKER

Semi-surgical procedure inserting a small piece of equipment to regulate the heart beat. It can be temporary or permanent

INTRAVENOUS PYLOGRAM (IVP)

An x-ray of the UTI/kidneys using a radiopaque substance

IRIS

The coloured part of the eye

ISCHAEMIC HEART DISEASE

Generally poor blood supply to the coronary arteries

KELLER’S PROCEDURE

An operation to remove bunions from the feet

KELOID

An irregular shaped scar usually slightly elevated

KERATITUS

A serious condition resulting in inflammation of the cornea

KERATOPLASTY

Corneal grafting

KNEE REPLACEMENT

Insertion of a prosthesis to replace a diseased knee joint

LAMINCETOMY (Sometimes performed by a neuro-surgeon)

Excision of part of the vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves

LARYNX

The voice box

LEFT VENTRICULAR FAILURE

Loss of ‘pump’ function to left side of the heart

LESIONS

A word used to describe change in an area of the skin

LEUKAEMIA

A malignant disease

LEUKOCYTES

White blood cells

LEUKOPLAKIA

A white plaque often seen in the mouth

LITHOTRIPSY

A means of crushing renal stones

LIVER BIOPSY

A needle aspiration of liver tissue

LIVER FUNCTION TESTS

Usually blood tests to detect abnormalities in the liver

LUMBER PUNCTURE

A needle is inserted into the spinal canal so that cerebral spinal fluid can be aspirated to aid diagnosis (eg. Meningitis)

LYMPHOCYTES

White blood cells formed in lymphatic tissue

LYMPHOMA OR HODGKIN’S DISEASE

Both are malignant diseases of the lymphoid tissue

MACULE

A smooth flat discoloured area

MALLEUS

A bone in the middle ear

MANCHESTER REPAIR

An operation to repair a prolapsed uterus

MANE

In the morning

MANTOUX TEST

A screening test for T.B.

MASTOIDECTOMY

Removal of the mastoid process in the middle ear

MASTOIDITIS

Inflammation of the mastoid process

MEASUREMENT OF INTRAOCULAR PRESSURE

By mean of a tonometer

MEDIASTINUM

A space in the middle of the thorax

MELANIN

Associated with pigment, meaning dark

MENIERE’S DISEASE

A disorder of the inner ear affecting balance

MENINGITIS

Inflammation of the meninges that surround the brain usually due to infection

MENISECTOMY

Removal of the cartilage from the knee

MENORRHAGIA

Heavy bleeding during periods

METORRHAGIA

Intra-menstrual bleeding

MICTURITION

The act of passing urine

MITRAL VALVE

Situated between the left atria and ventricle

MITRAL VALVECTOMY

Removal of a diseased valve usually replaced by an artificial one

MSU/CSU

Mid stream or catheter specimen of urine

MYASTHENIA GRAVIS

A chronic disorder characterised by weakness of voluntary muscles

MYELOGRAM

A special x-ray of the spinal cord

MYELOMA

A malignant disease of the bone marrow usually treated by a haematologist

MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION

Necrosis of the heart muscle (Myocardium) Commonly known as a heart attack and often abbreviated to M.I

MYOMECTOMY

Removal of the uterine muscle

MYOMETRIUM

Uterine muscle

MYRINGOTOMY

Incision in the ear drum to drain pus

MYXEODEMA

Atrophy of the thyroid gland resulting in too little thyroxine being secreted

NEPHRECTOMY

Removal of the kidneys

NEPHRITIS

Inflammation of the kidneys

NEPHROLOGY

Pertaining to the renal system (specifically the kidneys)

NEPHRON

The structural/functional unit of the kidneys

NEPHROTIC SYNDROME

A clinical set of symptoms whereby the kidneys are producing large quantities of protein that is being passed out in the urine

NEURITIS

Generalised inflammation of the nerves

NEUROLOGY

Pertaining to diseases of the nervous system

NEURONE

A complete nerve cell

NEUROPATHY

A disease process of nerve degeneration

NOCTE

At night

NODULE

A solid elevation involving both the skin and fatty layers

OBSTETRICS

Pertaining to care of the pregnant woman

ONCOLOGY

Pertaining to the treatment of malignant diseases

OPHTHALMIC

Pertaining to the eye

OPTHALMOSCOPIC EXAMINATION

Use of battery operated instrument to look into the eye

OPTIC

Pertaining to vision

ORCHIDECTOMY

Excision of the testicle

ORCHIDOPLEXY

An operation to free an undescended testicle

ORGAN OF CORTI

The nerve fibres of the inner ear

ORTHODONTICS

Pertaining to corrective dentistry

ORTHOPAEDICS

Pertaining to diseases of the skeletal system

OSTEO-ARTHRITIS

Chronic degeneration of mainly large joints

OSTEOMYELITIS

Inflammation of the bone

OSTEOTOMY

The cutting of bone usually to correct a deformity

OTITIS EXTERNA

Infection of the outer ear

OTITIS MEDIA

Infection of the middle ear

OTOSCLEROSIS

Immobilisation of the stapes bone affecting hearing

OVARIES

Glandular organs

OXYGEN (O)

A gas in the atmosphere also exchanged in the lungs

P.R.N.

As required

PAEDIATRIC

Pertaining to children

PAPULE

A small elevated area that may or may not be discoloured

PARATHYROID GLAND

A group of small glands situated in the neck, they control calcium metabolism

PARA-THYROIDECTOMY

Removal of the par-thyroid glands

PARKINSON’S DISEASE

A progressive disorder causing tremors and muscular rigidity

PERICARDITIS

Infection/inflammation of the pericardium (a membrane surrounding the heart)

PERIMETERY

Visual field measurement

PHARYNX

A muscular patch at the back of the mouth

PIGMENT

Colouring

PIN AND PLATE

Insertion of a pin/plate to stabilise a fracture usually of the head or femur

PITUITARY GLAND

A gland situated at the base of the brain that secretes various hormones

PLASMA

The fluid part of the blood

PLASMAPHERESIS

A method of removing a portion of the plasma from the circulation

PLATELETS

Components of blood concerned with clotting

PLEURA/PLEURAL CAVITY

Membrane lining of the lungs

PLEURAL ASPIRATION

Not really an operation. A procedure to remove an accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity

PLEURAL EFFUSION

A collection of fluid in the pleural cavity

PLEURISY

Inflammation of the pleura

PNEUMONECTOMY

Removal of a lung

PNEUMONIA

Infection in the lung

POLIOMYELITIS

An acute infection caused by a virus affecting the spinal cord. It can cause paralysis

POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE

A disorder characterised by the wide distribution of cysts on both kidneys

PROSTATE GLAND

A gland surrounding the male urethra near the bladder

PRURITUS

Itching

PSORIASIS

A chronic inflammatory condition of the skin

PTOSIS

Drooping upper eyelid

PULMONARY EMBOLISM

A blood clot that has travelled from the deep veins into the lungs

PUPIL

The circular part of the iris

PUSTULE

A small area of the skin containing infected pus

Q.D.S.

Four times a day

QUINSY

An abscess on the tonsils

RENAL CALCULI

Renal stones

REPAIR OF A DETACHED RETINA

Surgical repair using cryosurgery

REPAIR OF DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE

Correction of finger contractions

RETINA

The inner coat of the eyeball formed with nerve fibres

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

A more severe and progressive disease often affecting small joints

RHINITIS

Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane

SALPINGO-OOPHORECTOMY

Removal of the ovary and uterine tube

SARCOMA

A malignant tumour often found in bone

SCABIES

A contagious parasitic infestation of the skin

SCALES

Thin, flat small area of dried cells

SCLERA

The fibrous coat of the eyeball (the white of the eye)

SEBACEOUS GLAND

They secrete an oily substance (sebum) around the hair follicles

SEPTUM

A bony structure separating the nasal cavities

SIGMOIDOSCOPY

The viewing of the rectum and lower part of the colon through a fibre optic instrument

SINUSITIS

Acute or chronic inflammation of any of the sinuses

SPINAL CORD

A part of the central nervous system enclosed in the spinal column

STAPEDECTOMY

Removal of the stapes bone

STAPES

A bone in the middle ear

STAT

Immediately

SUB-ARACHNOID HAEMORRHAGE

Haemorrhage in the sub-arachnoid space between the brain and the spinal cord

SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE

Fatty tissue under the skin

SUBMUCOUS RESECTION OF THE NOSE (SMR)

Correction of a deviated or damaged septum

SUPERIOR AND INFERIOR VENA CAVA

Two large blood vessels which, return blood to the right atrium

T.D.S.

Three times a day

TESTIS/SCROTUM

Two male glands producing sperm in a surrounding sac

THORACOTOMY

An incision into the thoracic cavity

THORAX

Chest cavity

THROMBOCYTOPENIA

A disorder in the blood resulting in a decrease in platelets

THROMBOSIS (DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS)

A blood clot that has formed in a deep vein

THYROID FUNCTION TESTS (TFT’S)

A blood test to assess the level of serum thyroxine

THYROID GLAND

A gland situated in front of the trachea. Its main function is to produce thyroxine

THYROIDECTOMY

Removal of the thyroid gland

THYROTOXICOSIS

Over stimulation of the thyroid gland resulting in the over production of thyroxine

TINEA (RINGWORM)

A contagious fungal infection of the skin

TONSILLECTOMY AND ADENOIDECTOMY (T’S AND A’S)

Removal of the same

TONSILS

Two portions of lymphatic tissue situated near the pharynx

TOTAL OR PARTIAL CYSTECTOMY

Removal of all or part of the bladder

TRACHEA

The windpipe

TRANS URETHRAL RESECTION OF THE BLADDER (TURB)

Resection of debris from the bladder

TRANS URETHRAL RESECTION OF THE PROSTATE (TURP)

Resection of the prostate gland

TRICUSPID VALVE

Situated between the right atria and ventricle

TUBERCULOSIS

A serious infection of the lung requiring long term drug therapy

TURBINATES

Very small bones in the nasal cavity

TYMPANIC MEMBRANE

The ear drum

TYMPANOPLASTY

An operation to repair a damaged ear drum

UREA/URIC ACID AND CREATININE

End products of secretion

URETER

One of two long tubes which transport urine from the kidney to the bladder

URETHRA

A canal through which urine is discharged from the bladder

URETHROPLASTY

An operation to repair or re-fashion the urethra

URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)

Infection in the urinary tract

UROLOGY

Pertaining to the renal/urinary system

URTICARIA

A condition characterised by itching wheals

UTERINE OR FALLOPIAN TUBES

Long tubes connecting the uterus to the ovary

VENOUS

Pertaining to a vein

VENTRICLES

Lower chambers of the heart

VENTRICULAR FIBRILLATION

Irregular heart beat of a serious nature arising from the ventricles (lower chambers)

VULVA

External part of the vagina

VULVECTOMY

Removal of part or all of the vulva usually for malignancy

WHEAL

A localised swollen area that is red with a balanced cent

XIPHISTERNUM

An X shaped cartilage situated at the lower end of the sternum