Glossary of medical terms

 

Abdomen

The cavity of the body which extends from the diaphragm at the base of the thorax to the floor of the pelvis.

Abducent nerve

The 6th cranial nerve which serves muscles of the eye.

Abduction

Moving a limb outwards from the trunk.

Abductor

A muscle which tends to pull a limb away from the middle line.

Ablation

Cutting away tissue or abnormal growth.

Abortion

Premature or untimely expulsion of the fetus.

Abrasion

A portion of a surface from which the skin has been removed by rubbing.

Abscess

A collection of pus.

Accessory nerve

The 11th cranial nerve which serves the neck muscles.

Accommodation

Adjustments of the eye to provide clear and distinct pictures of objects at various distances.

Acetabulum

A socket on the lower part of the pelvic bone in which the head of the hipbone is situated.

Achilles tendon

The tendon which connects the calf muscles to the heelbone.

Acidosis

A condition in which the acidity of body fluids and tissues is abnormally high

Acrocyanosis

Slow blood circulation causing bluish discolouration of hands and feet.

Acromioclavicular joint

The joint between the clavicle and the acromion.

Acromion

The outer end of the shoulder blade.

Acroparaesthesia

A tingling sensation in hands and feet.

Acuity

Sharpness or clearness of vision.

Acute

Severe symptoms which are relatively brief in duration.

Acute–on-chronic

A flare up of a pre-existing condition which settles after treatment although the chronic condition remains.

Addison’s disease

Caused by underactivity of the adrenal glands resulting in extreme weakness.

Adduction

The bringing of a limb towards the trunk.

Adductors

Any muscle which draws a part towards the medial line.

Adenitis

Inflammation of a gland.

Adenocarcinoma

Amalignant tumour originating in a gland.

Adenoidectomy

An operation to remove adenoids.

Adenoids

A mass of tissue located at the back of the mouth.

Adenoma

A benign tumour or swelling of the glandular tissue.

Adenopathy

Adiseased gland.

Adhesion

The union of normally separate parts of new tissue produced as a result of inflammation.

Adnerval

Near a nerve.

Adrenal glands

The glands of the endocrine system which are located above the kidneys.

Adventitia

Loose tissue on the outer surface of a blood vessel.

Aerobic

Any organism which requires oxygen in order to live.

Aids

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Akinesia

Loss of muscular response.

Alexia

Difficulty in reading.

Alimentary

Canal The tubular passage extending from the mouth to the anus through which food is passed and digested.

Allergen

A substance that causes an allergy.

Allergy

Extreme sensitivity to a substance that causes the body to react to any contact with that substance.

Alopecia

Loss of hair.

Alveolar process

One of the four projections which make up each jaw bone.

Alveolus

The part of the upper or lower jawbone that holds the roots of the teeth.

Amblyopia

A condition of reduced or dimmed vision not caused by disease.

Amine

A type of chemical compound derived from ammonia which is present in the human body.

Amnesia

Lack of ability to recall events.

Amniocentesis

The puncture of the amniotic sac to drain or sample amniotic fluid.
Amniotic fluid
The fluid contained within the amniotic sac.

Amniotic sac

The pouch containing the embrionic fetus.

Anaemia

A deficiency of red blood cells.

Anaerobic

An organism which does not require oxygen in order to live.

Anaesthetic

A substance which causes a loss of bodily feeling.

Analgesic

Any medication intended to relieve pain.

Anastomosis

Joining up two ends of a hollow organ.

Aneurysm

A localised dilation of the walls of a blood vessel, (usually an artery).

Angina

A disease causing sudden intense pain in the chest as a result of a lack of adequate blood supply to the heart muscles.

Angina pectoris

Angina.

Angiocardiogram

A series of X-ray films of the heart after the intravenous injection of a radio-opaque substance.

Angiogram

A series of X-ray films taken after a radio-opaque substance is introduced into the blood vessels.

Angioma

A tumour consisting of a mass of blood vessels.

Ankylosing spondylitis

A disease of the spine causing gradual loss of mobility in the joints between the vertebrae.

Ankylosis

Immobility or stiffness of a joint.

Anodyne

Treatment to ease pain.

Anosmia

Loss of sense of smell.

Anoxia

Without oxygen

Anterior

The front part.

Anteroposterior

Extending from the front to the back.

Antibiotic

A chemical substance capable of destroying micro-organisms (including bacteria).

Antibody

A protein produced in the blood by the presence of antigen.

Anti-D

An antibody which must be given to a mother with a rhesus negative blood group who delivers or aborts a rhesus positive baby or fetus in order to prevent the mother developing antibodies which will damage a subsequent baby.

Antigen

A substance that stimulates the production of antibodies.

Antipyretic

Fever reducing drug.

Antrectomy

An operation to remove part of the stomach.

Anuria

Failure of secretion of urine (a symptom of kidney failure).

Anus

The excretory opening at the end of the alimentary canal situated in the perineum.

Aorta

The largest blood vessel in the body which conveys oxygen rich blood from the heart to all parts of the body except the lungs.

Apgar score

A system for rating an infant’s physical condition immediately after birth by assessing heart rate, colour, respiration and muscle tone. 10 = Excellent. 0 = Dead.

Aphasia

Absence of ability to speak.

Apoplexy

A stroke.

Appendectomy

An operation to remove the appendix.

Appendicitis

An inflamed condition of the appendix.

Appendix

A small worm like structure which is attached to the caecum and which has no apparent function.

Apraxia

A failure of the brain resulting in loss of memory of how to make certain movements.

Arachnoid

The middle of the three membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain.

Arachnoiditis

Inflammation of the arachnoid.

Arrhythmia

Any variation from the normal rhythms of the heart beat.

Arteriography

The visualisation of arteries by means of X-rays after injection of radio-opaque material.

Arteriosclerosis

Hardening of the arteries.

Artery

A vessel carrying blood from the heart to different parts of the body.

Arthritis

Inflammation of a joint.

Arthrodesis

An operation to fuse joints.

Arthropathy

Disease of a joint.

Babinski’s reflex

A movement of the great toe towards the sole of the foot upon stimulation of the sole of the foot.

Bacteria

A parasitic micro organism which causes disease.

Barium meal

A preparation of barium sulphate which is radio-opaque and which is swallowed by a patient prior to x-ray examination of the alimentary canal

Barotitis

Earache caused by eg climbing or descending in an aeroplane.

Barotrauma

Injury to the middle ear caused by Barotitis.

Basal

Relating to a base.

Basal metabolic rate

A test of thyroid function.

Bells palsy

Paralysis of the face.

Biceps

A muscle that has two heads.

Bicuspid

A premolar tooth.

Bilateral

Occurring on both sides.

Bilateral carotid bruits

Noises which suggest narrowing of the carotid arteries by atheroma.

Bile

An alkaline fluid which is secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder.
Bile duct
A duct conveying bile from the liver via the gall bladder to the intestine.

Binocular

Involving both eyes.

Biopsy

The removal and examination of living tissue for diagnostic purposes.

Bladder

The pouch situated in the anterior part of the pelvis which serves as a storage tank for urine before it is discharged.

Blepharitis

Inflammation of the eyelids.

Blood pressure

The pressure of blood circulating within the vascular system.

Bowel

The intestine

Brachial

Relating to the arm.

Brachioradialis muscle

A muscle on the side of the forearm.

Bradycardia

Slowing of the heart rate.

Bright’s disease

Nephritis.

Bronchitis

An inflammation of the bronchus.

Bronchus

The air passages between the trachea and the lungs.

Bruise

The visible sign of a haematoma.

Bunion

An inflammatory swelling of the bursa of the joint of the big toe.

Bursa

A small fluid filled sac which reduces friction in a joint.

Bursitis

Inflammation of a bursa (eg. housemaid’s knee).

Byssinosis

A form of lung disease, resulting from inhalation of cotton flax or hemp dust.

Cacosmia

Irregularity in the sense of smell caused by brain damage.

Caecum

Cecum

Caesarean section

An incision in the abdominal wall in order to deliver a baby.

Calcification

The hardening of organic tissue caused by the accumulation of calcium.

Calcium

A metallic substance present in bones and teeth.

Callus

Bony material which grows around and between two ends of a fractured bone whilst healing.

Cancer

A malignant tumour arising from epithelial cells.

Canine teeth

The four teeth (two in each jaw) situated between the incisors and the premolars.

Canthus

The corner (e.g. of the eye).

Capitate bone

The largest of the carpal bones.

Capsulitis

Inflammation around a joint.

Carcinogen

Any substance which causes cancer.

Carcinoma

A malignant cancerous tumour.

Cardiac

Relating to the heart.

Caries

Tooth or bone decay.

Carotid

Relating to or situated near one of the carotid arteries.

Carotid arteries

The two main arteries that carry blood to the head and neck.

Carpal

Relating to the wrist.

Carpal bones

The eight bones which form the wrist.

Carpus

Bones of the wrist.

Cartilage

Tissue situated at the ends of bones which is firm, flexible and slightly elastic (gristle).

Cataract

Opacity in the lens of the eye which may be partial or complete.

Catharsis

Cleansing the bowels.

Catheter

A flexible tube which is inserted into the body to extract or introduce fluid.

Cat scan

Computerized axial tomography.

Cauda equina

A sheaf of nerve roots which runs down through the lower parts of the spinal canal.

Causalgia

A burning pain or intense hypersensitivity in a peripheral nerve.

Cauterization

The process of burning a part with an instrument or other agent.

Cecum

The pouch which forms the beginning of the large intestine.

Cell

The smallest unit of an organism that is able to function independently.

Cellulitis

An inflammation of tissue.

Cephalalgia

Pain in the head.

Cephalic

Relating to the head

Cerebellum

The part of the brain whose function is co-ordination of voluntary movement and maintenance of body equilibrium.

Cerebral

Relating to the cerebrum.

Cerebrospinal

Relating to the brain and the spine.

Cerebrovascular accident

Stroke

Cerebrum

The dominant part of the brain associated with intellectual function, emotion and personality.

Cervical

Relating to the cervix.

Cervical spondylosis

Degeneration of the bones of the neck.

Cervix

The lower part of the uterus that extends into the vagina.

Chest

The front part of the trunk from the head to the abdomen.

Cholecystectomy

An operation to remove the gall bladder.

Chondritis

Inflammation in a cartilage.

Chondromalacia

A condition of abnormal softness of cartilage.

Choroid

The main part of the vascular coat of the eye which is composed of two main layers, the suprachoroid lamina and the choroid proper.

Chromosome

A part of a cell which contains the genes.

Chronic

Slowly developing and long lasting.

Cicatrix

The scar of a healed wound.

Cirrhosis

Chronic disease of the liver.

Claudication

Pain which develops after a certain amount of exertion.

Clavicle

The bones connecting the shoulder blade with the breastbone.

Clawfoot

A deformity of the foot caused by paralysis of the muscles.

Clawhand

A deformity of the hand characterized by a bending forward of the fingers.

Cleft

A fissure, notch, gap or depression.

Clitoris

A small erectile organ in the female at the front of the vulva.

Closed fracture

One that does not produce an open wound.

Clostridium

A type of bacteria.

Coccydynia

Pain in the coccyx and surrounding area.

Coccygeal

Relating to the coccyx.

Coccygectomy

An operation to remove the coccyx.

Coccyx

A small triangular bone attached to the lower part of the sacrum.

Cochlea

The inner part of the ear.

Cognitive function

The ability to understand and perceive.

Colitis

Inflammation of the colon.

Collapsed lung

A condition existing when the lung contains no air.

Collar bone

The clavicle.

Colles’ fracture

A fracture across the lower end of the radius.

Colon

The part of the large intestine between the caecum and the rectum.

Colostomy

A temporary or permanent artificial opening made through the abdominal wall into the colon.

Colour blindness

The inability to perceive one or more colours.

Colposcopy

Examination of the cervix through a microscope

Coma

A state of unconsciousness from which the person cannot be roused by external stimuli.

Comminuted fracture

Bone fractured into several pieces.

Compound fracture

Where there is more than one break.

Compression fracture

A fracture associated with vertical crushing.

Computerized axial

A computerised analysis of X-rays focused at different levels tomography which produce detailed images of a particular structure.

Concussion

An injury resulting from a blow or impact.

Condyle

A rounded bulge at the end of some bones.

Congenital

Present at birth.

Conjunctivitis

Inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the eyelids.

Connective tissue

A jelly like substance which supports organs, fills the spaces around them and supports ligaments and tendons.

Contraceptive

Any agent or measure used to prevent conception.

Contusion

A bruise.

Convulsion

A violent and involuntary contraction of a muscle.

Cordectomy

An operation to remove a vocal cord.

Cornea

The transparent membrane covering the anterior part of the eyeball.

Coronary arteries

Arteries supplying blood to the walls of the heart.

Coronoid process

The swelling towards the top of the ulna.

Corpuscle

A cell which is suspended in fluid.

Cortex

The outer part of an organ.

Costal

Relating to the ribs.

Costavertebral

Relating to a rib and a vertebra.

Coxa

Hip.

Cranial

Relating to the cranium.

Cranial nerves

The nerves arising from the brain.

Craniectomy

An operation to cut away a portion of the skull.

Cranioplasty

The surgical correction or restoration of defects of the skull.

Craniosacral

Relating to the skull and the sacrum.

Craniotomy

An operation on the skull.

Creatine

A substance mainly comprised of nitrogen which is present in muscle.

Creatinine

A waste produce of creatine which is excreted by urine.

Cranium

The skull.

Crepitations

Crackling noises caused by congestion or inflammation of the lungs.

Crepitus

Grating caused by bone running against bone or roughened cartilage (usually associated with the movement of an arthritic joint).

Cruciate

Shaped like a cross.

Crural

Relating to the leg or thigh.

Crystalline

Having the characteristic of crystal.

Cubitus

Elbow.

Cuboid bone

A bone on the side of the foot and in front of the heel bone.

Cuneiform bone

One of the bones of the ankle.

Curette

An instrument for removing dead tissue from the wall of a cavity.

Curettage

The process of using a curette.

Cushing’s syndrome

Caused by malfunctioning adrenal glands resulting in obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Cutaneous

Affecting or asociated with the skin.

Cyanosis

Blueness of skin owing to circulation of imperfectly oxygenated blood.

Cyclitis

A form of inflammation of the eye.

Cycloplegia

A form of paralysis of the eye muscle.

Cyst

A blister like pouch containing fluid from degenerating, inflamed or neoplastic tissue.

Cystic duct

The normal drainage channel for the gall bladder.

Cystic fibrosis

A genetic disease affecting the lungs.

Cystitis

Inflammation of the bladder.

D & C

A surgical procedure intended to achieve dilation of the cervix and curettage of the uterus

Dactylitis

Inflammation of a digit (e.g. toe, finger).

Daltonism

Inability to distinguish between red and green.

Debridement

The excision of dead tissue from a wound in order to remove food on which organisms can grow.

Debriding

The removal of alien matter in a wound (such as dirt, dead tissue, etc) in order to clean the wound to facilitate healing.

Decubitus ulcer

Bedsore.

Defibrillation

Restoration of heart rhythm by means of an electric shock.

Dehydration

The loss or restriction of water.

Deltoid muscle

The muscle covering the shoulder region and running from the scapula and clavicle to the middle of the humerus.

Dermal

Relating to the skin.

Dermatitis

Inflammation of the skin.

Dermatoplasty

Skin grafting.

Dermis

The skin.

Detached retina

A condition where the retina becomes separated from the choroid.

Devitalize

To remove the nerve of a tooth or an organ.

Diabetes

Any of a group of diseases in which there is polyuria and/or an error of metabolism.

Diaclasia

The deliberate surgical fracture of a bone in order to reset a deformity.

Dialysis

The removal of harmful chemicals from the blood by the use of an artificial kidney.

Diaphoresis

Increased perspiration.

Diaphragm

A thin layer of tissue stretched across an opening.

Diaphysis

The central shaft of a large bone.

Diastasis

The forcible separation of parts that are normally joined.

Digit

A finger or toe.

Dilation

The action (whether by surgery or occurring naturally) of making something wider.

Diplegia

Paralysis of both sides of the body.

Diplopia

Double vision

Diptheria

An infectious disease which causes breathing difficulties.

Disarticulation

To separate the joints by injury or surgery.

Disc

A flat, circular, coin shaped structure.

Discography

Demonstration of a disc of a joint by the injection of a radio-opaque medium.

Dislocation

The abnormal displacement of a bone from a joint.

Distal

The extremity of a limb or organ furthest from the centre of the body.

Diverticulitis

A condition of inflammation of a diverticulum.

Diverticulosis

A condition of the colon on which the muscular wall gives way in places forming pouches which became filled with faecal material

Diverticulum

A pouch formed by diverticulosis.

Dorsal

Relating to the back part of the body.

Dorsal spine

Part of the spine where ribs join.

Dorsiflexion

The backward movement of joints.

Dorsum

The back or outer surface.

Down’s syndrome

A genetic disorder resulting in a flat facial look and some mental handicap.

Duodenal

Relating to the duodenum.

Duodenitis

Inflammation of the duodenum.

Duodenum

The first 20 to 25 cm of the small intestine.

Dura mater

The outermost membrane covering the brain.

Dysarthria

Slurred speech.

Dysphasia

Partial inability to speak.

Dyspnoea

Difficulty in breathing.

Dystocia

Difficult childbirth.

Dystrophy

The deterioration or degeneration of an organ or body tissues.

Dysuria

Pain during urination.

Eburnation

The final result of osteoarthritis, when the cartilage at the articulating surface of a bone is totally worn down.

Ecchymosis

An extravasation of blood.

Eclampsia

A toxic condition (to which pregnant women are particularly susceptible) characterised by high blood pressure and convulsions.

Ecdysis

The shedding of skin.

Eczma

A type of inflammation of the skin.

Edentulous

No teeth.

Effusion

The escape of fluid (eg. pus, blood, etc) into a body cavity.

Electrocardiogram

A tracing of the electric currents that initiate the heart beat and which is used to diagnose possible heart disorders.

Electro-encephalogram

A graph derived from a recording of brain activity and used in the diagnosis of epilepsy.

Embolism

The obstruction of a blood vessel by an embolus.

Embolus

Material (such as a blood clot or an air bubble) which is carried by the blood stream.

Embrasure

The gaps existing between neighbouring teeth.

Embryo

The human product of conception up to the first eight weeks of intrauterine life. The term fetus is used after that.

Eminence

A projection (usually describing that on a bone).

Emphysema

(1) The collection of air in certain parts of the body where it is not usually present. (2) A condition in which the lungs become grossly enlarged due to retention of air.

Enarthrosis

A joint (such as the hip or shoulder) which operates by way of a ball and socket.

Endocrine

An internal secretion.

Endometrium

The lining of the womb.

Endoscope

An instrument for examining the interior of a hollow organ.

Enema

An injection of fluid into the rectum for cleaning, healing, sedative, diagnostic or nutritive purposes.

Enophthalmos

The recession of the eyeball into the cavity of the orbit.

Enteritis

Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the intestine.

Enterocentesis

The removal of an undue quantity of fluid from the stomach (or intestine) by use of a hollow needle.

Enucleate

To remove an eye.

Enuresis

Bed wetting.

Enzyme

A protein which will catalyse a biochemical reaction.

Epicondyle

A proturbance above a condyle at the end of a bone which articulates with another bone.

Epicondylitis

Inflammation of the epicondyle of the humerus or of the area immediately surrounding it.

Epicranius

The scalp muscle.

Epidermis

The outer protective layer of the skin.

Epidural

Relating to the outermost membrane covering the spinal cord.

Epigastric

Relating to the epigastrium.

Epigastrium

The upper part of the abdomen between the navel and the breast.

Epilepsy

An affliction of the nervous system characterised by fits.

Epiphysis

The growing part of a bone.

Epistaxis

Nose bleed.

Epithelial

Relating to or composed of epithelium.

Epithelium

A closely packed sheet of cells arranged in one or more layers, the component cells of which usually adhere to each other along their edges and surfaces.

Erb’s Palsy

Birth injury to the brachial plexus.

Erythema

Superficial redness of skin in patches.

Erythrocyte

Red blood cell.

Eschar

A dry scab.

Esophagos

Oesophagos.

Ethmoid bone

A sievelike bone lying in front of the sphenoid bone which forms part of the orbit and the nasal cavity.

Eutocia

Normal labour and childbirth without complications.

Eversion

The bending outwards of a joint.

Exacerbation

Increase in severity of a disease or in the violence of symptoms.

Excise

To cut tissue away surgically.

Exploratory operation

An operation to investigate and decide upon the cause of symptoms.

Exsanguinated

Partial blood loss to a dangerous degree.

Extension

The straightening out of a joint.

Extensor

To stretch out.

Extradural

Situated on the outside of the dura mater.

Extra-ocular

Situated on the outside of the eyeball.

Extravasation

The act of forcing a fluid out of, or allowing it to escape from, its proper duct or vessel.

Exudate

Any substance which has oozed through pores (eg sweat).

Facet

The surface on a bone which is small and flat.

Faecal

Relating to faeces.

Faeces

Bodily waste derived from ingested food and discharged through the anus.

Fallopian tubes

A pair of slender tubes through which ova pass from the ovaries to the uterus.

Fauces

Structures at the back of the throat.

Femur

Thighbone.

Femoral

Relating to the thigh.

Fetus

A human embryo from the second month of pregnancy until birth.

Fibrosis

Thickening of tissue.

Fibula

The outer and thinner of the two bones between the knee and the ankle.

Fistula

An abnormal opening between two hollow organs or a hollow organ and skin.

Flexion

The bending of a joint.

Flexor

The bending movement of a joint.

Foramen Magnor

A large opening at the base of the skull through which the spinal cord passes.

Fossa

A hollow area.

Fracture

A broken bone.

Frigidity

Lack of warmth of feeling.

Frontal

Relating or belonging to the forehead.

Frontal bone

An unimpaired cranial bone forming the forehead and the greater part of the orbital roof, and lying in front of the parietals.

Fusion

The joining together of two bones.

Gall-bladder

A pear shaped sac on the inferior surface of the right lobe of the liver in which bile is stored.

Gall-stone

A solid mass which may form in the gall-bladder.

Ganglion

A group of nerve cells with a common function, especially applied to a collection outside the central nervous system.

Gangrene

Necrosis of tissue due to cutting off the blood supply.

Gastrectomy

The surgical removal of the whole or part of the stomach.

Gastric

Relating or belonging to the stomach.

Gastritis

Inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane.

Gastro-enteritis

Inflammation of the mucous coat of the stomach and intestines as a result of Salmonella infection.

Gastro-intestinal

Relating or belonging to the stomach and the intestine.

Gastrotomy

The surgical opening of the stomach.

Gene

The part of a chromosome which is inherited and in turn passes on characteristics or traits.

Genetic

Inherited through genes.

Genioplasty

Plastic surgery to build up the cheek bone.

Genital

Relating or belonging to the reproduction organs.

Genu

The knee.

Gibbus

An angular and sharp backward curvature of the spine usually the result of a disease or tumour.

Gingivitis

Inflammation of the gum

Ginglymus

A hinge joint.

Gland

An organ which produces chemical substances.

Glandular fever

A viral infection.

Glaucoma

A disease of the eye in which increased pressure in the eyeballs causes damage.

Glenoid cavity

A socket located on the upper outer portion of the shoulder blade.

Glossopharyngeal nerve

The 9th cranial nerve which controls the muscles of the back portion of the roof of the mouth.

Glucose

A type of sugar which circulates naturally in the blood stream.

Gluteal

Relating to the buttock.

Glutenus maximus

A large muscle arising from the ileum and the sacrum.

Gonad

The organ in which reproductive cells are formed.

Granulation

The formation of small rounded masses of tissue.

Greenstick fracture

Partial splintering of a bone.

Groin

The depression that marks the junction of the lower part of the anterior abdominal wall and the thigh.

Guarding

A reflex muscle spasm caused by application of pressure

Guillain-barré syndrome

Acute infective polyneuritis.

Gullet

Oesphagus

Gum

Fleshy tissue covering the jaw bones around the base of the teeth

Gustatory

Relating to taste organs.

Gut

Alimentary Canal.

Gynaecological

Relating or belonging to gynaecology.

Gynaecologist

A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases peculiar to women.

Gynaecology

The study of disease in women.

Haemarthrosis

The swelling and pain resulting from bleeding into a joint.

Haematoma

A collection of blood forming a swelling.

Haemoglobin

A protein which is present in the red blood cells and which carries oxygen

Haemopneumothorax

An accumulation of blood and gas in the pleural cavity.

Haemoptysis

Coughing blood

Haemorrhage

The escape of blood from any part of the vascular system (ie bleeding).

Haemothorax

The escape of blood into the pleural cavity.

Halitosis

Bad breath.

Hallux

Great (big) toe.

Hamate bone

The medial bone in the distal row of carpal bones.

Hamstring

A tendon at the back of the knee.

Hemiparesis

Partial paralysis of one side of the body.

Hemiplegia

Paralysis of one side of the body.

Hepatiscostomy

The making of a surgical opening in the bile duct.

Hereditary

Transmitted from one generation to another.

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver. The most common causes are alcohol abuse or infection by one of 5 different viruses (A, B, C, D & E).

Hernia

The protrusion of an internal organ through a defect in the wall of the anatomical cavity in which it normally lies.

Herniation

The process of formation of a hernia.

Hernioplasty

The surgical repair of a hernia.

Herpes

A type of inflammatory disease of the skin or mucous membrane.

Hiatus

An opening.

Histamine

A type of amine

Histogenesis

Tissue formation.

Histology

The study of the structure of tissues by means of microscopy.

Hodgkins’s disease

A malignant disease characterised by enlargement of the lymph glands.

Homeostasis

The system whereby body functions (temperature, blood pressure, etc) remain in equilibrium whatever the outside environment.

Homoplasty

The repair of damaged tissue by grafting on similar tissues from another of the same species.
which it has some specific effect.

Humerus

The longest and largest bone of the arm.

Hyalitis

A form of inflammation of the eye.

Hypercarbia

Excess carbon dioxide.

Hydramnios

Excessive amniotic fluid.

Hydrocephalus

Swelling of the brain due to the accumulation of excess fluid.

Hydrogen

The lightest of the chemical elements, gaseous, colourless, odour-less and tasteless.

Hyoid bone

A V-shaped bone situated at the base of the tongue.

Hyperacusis

Excessive sensitivity to sight, sound, taste and smell.

Hyperaemia

Excess blood in a particular part of the body.

Hyperaesthesia

Excessive sensitivity to sound, taste, smell and feeling.

Hypercarbia

Excess carbon dioxide

Hyperextension

Abnormal movement of a limb beyond its limit.

Hypertension

High blood pressure.

Hypertrophy

Enlargement of cells generating an increase in the size of an organ or tissue.

Hyperventilation

Abnormally fast or deep breathing.

Hypoglossal nerve

The 12th and last cranial nerve which supplies the muscles of the tongue.

Hypoplasia

The failure of tissue to develop fully.

Hypothalamus

The neural control centre at the base of the brain concerned with hunger, thirst, sobriety and other autonomic functions.

Hypothyroidism

An under active thyroid.

Hypotropia

Squint.

Hypoxaemia

Lack of oxygen in the blood.

Hypoxia

A supply of oxygen to the tissues which is inadequate to maintain normal tissue respiration.

Hysterectomy

An operation to remove the uterus.

Ileotomy

Surgical incision of the ileum.

Ileum

The part of the alimentary canal between the jejunum and the caecum.

Iliac

Relating to the ilium.

Iliac fossa

The hollow area which can be felt on the surface of the body at each of the two lower corners of the abdomen.

Ilium

The hip bone.

Immune system

The body’s defence against foreign substances, eg bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Immunoglobin

A particular type of protein.

Incisors

The four front teeth in each jaw.

Incontinence

The lack of voluntary control over the discharge of faeces or urine.

Incus

A bone situated in the middle ear.

Induration

Excessive toughening of an organ or tissue.

Infarction

Death of the whole or part of organ caused by the obstruction of blood supply.

Inferior

Lower.

Infertility

Inability to produce children.

Inflammation

The reaction of living tissue in response to injury or infection characterised by heat, redness, swelling and pain.

Infra-orbital

Situated below the level of the floor of the orbit.

Inguinal

Of the groin.

Innominate bone

The hip bone.

Inoculate

To introduce into the body the bacteria which causes a disease in order to induce immunity from it.

Insomnia

Inability to sleep.

Insulin

A protein hormone secreted by the pancreas.

Intercostal

Situated between ribs.

Internal rotation

Rotating a limb inwards.

Interstitial

Occurring in the space between organs.

Intervertebral

Between two adjacent vertebrae.

Intestine

The part of the alimentary canal that extends from the stomach to the anus.

Intracranial

Inside the skull.

Intramuscular

Occurring within the substance of a muscle.

Intraoccular

Within the eye.

Intrauterine

Inside the womb.

Intravenous

Within or introduced into a vein.

Intravenous injection

An injection into the vein.

Introitus

An aperture.

Iridoplegia

Paralysis of the iris in the eye.

Iris

A thin muscular diaphragm that controls the size of the pupil of the eye.

Iritis

Inflammation of the iris.

Iritomy

Surgical incision of the iris.

Iron

A metal which is a necessary ingredient of blood.

Ischaemia

Deficiency of blood in a part of the body.

Ischium

One of the three sections of the hip bone.

Isometric

Having equal dimension.

Jaundice

A yellowing of the skin through the accumulation of bile products in the blood.

Jejunum

The part of the small intestine extending from the end of the duodenum to the ileum.

Jugular vein

The chief vein of the head and neck which carries blood from the head to the heart.

Juxta-articular

In close proximity to a joint.

Keloid

An overgrowth of fibrous tissue usually on the site of a scar.

Keratectomy

An operation to remove a superficial layer of the cornea.

Keratitis

Inflammation of the cornea.

Keratoplasty

Corneal graft.

Ketoacidosis

Acidosis caused by fat breaking down.

Kidney

One of two organs to the right and left of the lumbar region which filter waste products from the blood which are then excreted as urine.

Kirschner wire

Wire used in traction of the skeleton.

Knuckle

A prominence produced by the head of any of the metacarpal bones.

Kyphosis

Hunch-back .

Labial

Relating to the lips (either of the mouth or the vulva).

Labioplasty

Surgical repair to the lips (either of the mouth or the vulva).

Labyrinth

An interconnecting system of cavities in the inner ear.

Labyrinthitis

Inflammation of the ear.

Laceration

A tear or cut.

Lachrymal

Relating to the production of tears.

Lacrimal bone

A small bone forming the anterior part of the medial wall of the orbit and part of the side wall of the nose.

Laminectomy

An operation to relieve the symptoms of a ruptured intervertebral disc (a slipped disc)

Laparoscope

A type of trocar provided with an illuminating mechanism with which the abdomen can be examined.

Laparoscopy

A technique to inspect the pelvic organs by expanding the abdominal cavity with gas, and then inserting a laparoscope.

Laparotomy

Incision into the abdomen to explore for the possibility of some disease.

Large intestine

The part of the alimentary canal consisting of the cecum, colon and rectum.

Laryngeal

Relating to the larynx.

Laryngectomy

An operation to remove part of the larynx.

Larynx

The organ situated at the upper end of the trachea and concerned with the production of the voice.

Lateral

To the side.

Laxative

An agent which stimulates the evacuation of the bowel.

Lesion

A localised area of tissue damage.

Ligament

Flexible fibrous tissue that holds together, supports and protects two bones at a joint thereby preventing abnormal movement.

Lipoma

A swelling mainly comprised of fat.

Liver

A gland situated on the right side of the upper abdomen which secretes bile and detoxifies certain poisons.

Lordosis

Forward curvature of the spine (the opposite of Kyphosis).

Lumbago

Pain in the lower part of the back.

Lumbar

Relating to the lower back.

Lumen

A cavity in a tubular organ.

Lunate bone

A bone of the wrist .

Lungs

The two organs enclosed by the ribs which oxygenate blood and remove carbon dioxide.

Lymph

Fluid that flows in the lymphatic channels.

Lymphatic channels

An extensive network of vessels that carry interstitial fluid to the blood.

Lymphodermia

Any morbid condition affecting the lymph glands.

Lymphoid

Resembling a lymph.

McMurray’s test

A test to diagnose tearing of the knee cartilage.

Macrocytosis

Abnormally large red blood cells.

Macula

A circumscribed spot in any tissue.

Malacia

The softening of an organ or tissue caused by disease.

Malar

Relating to the cheek or cheek bone

Malignant

Threatening life or tending to cause death (the opposite of benign).

Malingerer

An individual who feigns disease or illness.

Malleolus

A rounded bony prominence on either side of the ankle joint.

Malocclusion

The lack of occlusion between the teeth of opposite jaws when the jaws are at rest.

Malunion

The failure of bones properly to align after fracture.

Mammary

Relating to the mammary gland.

Mammary gland

The breast.

Mammoplasty

An operation to reduce the size of the female breasts.

Mandible

The lower jaw.

Marrow

The fatty substance that fills the cavities of bones.

Mastication

Chewing food.

Maxilla

Either of the pair of bones constituting the upper jaw.

Medial

Middle.

Median

Placed in the middle.

Median nerve

One of the nerves of the forearm and hand.

Medulla

The innermost part of an organ.

Medulla oblongata

The lower portion of the brain containing the control centres of the heart and lungs.

Melaena

The presence of blood in faeces.

Melanoma

A tumour consisting of darkly pigmented cells.

Membrane

A thin layer of tissue which covers a surface.

Meningitis

Inflammation of the membranes of the brain or spinal cord.

Meniscetomy

Removal of cartilage in the knee.

Meniscus

A crescent shaped cartilage in the wrist and knee joints.

Mesothelioma

A tumour of the lining of the lung usually the result of exposure to asbestos.

Metabolic acidosis

Low pH due to the presence of lactic acid.

Metabolism

The chemical processes that occur in living organisms

Metacarpal bones

Any of the bones of the palm of the hand.

Metaphysis

That part of the bone which is growing between the ends and the shaft.

Metastasis

The transfer of disease from its primary site to other parts of the body.

Metatarsal bones

Five long bones forming the skeleton of the anterior part of the foot.

Metatarsalgia

Aching pain in the region of the metatarsal bones.

Metrorrhexis

Rupture of the womb.

Micro-organism

An organism of microscopic size.

Molar teeth

The broad topped teeth used for grinding which are situated at the back of the mouth.

Monoplegia

Paralysis of one limb.

Morbid

Relating to disease.

Morton’s neuralgia

A condition associated with falling of the metatarsal arch.

Motile

Capable of moving independently and spontaneously.

Motor neurones

The nerves which stimulate movement.

Mucous membrane

A membrane that lines a body cavity, which is open to the external environment and which releases mucus.

Mucus

A slimy protective substance released by a membrane.

Muscle

A bundle of bony slender cells that are able to contract and hence produce movement.

Myasthenia

Weakness of muscles.

Myasthenia gravis

An autoimmune disease which causes weakness in muscles.

Myectomy

An operation to remove part of a muscle.

Myelitis

Inflammation of bone marrow.

Myelogram

An x-ray of the spinal canal after the injection of a radio-opaque contrast medium into the subarachnoid space.

Myocardial

Relating to the myocardium.

Myocardial infarction

Heart attack.

Myocardium

The middle of the three layers which form the walls of the heart.

Myoclonus

A brief twitching muscular spasm.

Myodynia

Muscle pain.

Myoglobin

A protein which is present in blood and gives it its red colour.

Myositis

Inflammation of muscles.

Myotasis

Muscular extension (stretching).

Myotomy

An operation to divide a muscle.

Narcotic

A drug that induces sleep.

Nares

Nostrils.

Nasal

Relating to the nose.

Nasal cavity

The area behind the nostrils

Nasal septum

The dividing partition that separates the nostrils.

Nausea

A feeling of sickness with a desire to vomit.

Navel

The scar in the centre of the abdomen where the umbilical cord was attached.

Navicular bone

A bone situated on the side of the foot.

Necrophilism

Unnatural pleasure in corpses and in being in their presence.

Necrosis

Death of tissue.

Neoplasm

Tumour.

Nephritis

Inflammation of the kidneys.

Nephrotomy

An operation into the kidney.

Nerve

Fibres along which impulses pass from one part of the body to another.

Nervous system

The sensory and control mechanism of the body consisting of a network of nerve cells.

Neural

Relating to nerves or the nervous system.

Neuralgia

Pain along the course of one or more nerves.

Neurasthenia

Irritability, headache, dizziness, anxiety, impatience.

Neuritis

Inflammation of a nerve, with pain, tenderness and loss of function.

Neurectomy

An operation to remove a nerve.

Neuro-anastomosis

The surgical formation of an anastomosis between nerves.

Neurocranium

The part of the skull containing the brain.

Neurology

The section of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of diseases of the nervous system.

Neuroma

Abenign tumour.

Neuropathy

Any disorder of peripheral nerves (usually causing numbness and weakness).

Neuropraxia

The temporary failure or impairment of functions due to a disorder of the nervous system.

Neuroretinitis

Inflammation of the optic nerve and retina.

Neurosis

A pathological abnormal emotional state characterised by an inability to deal efficiently with anxiety.

Neurosurgery

Surgery to treat disease and disorders of the brain and spinal cord.

Nocturia

The need to arise from sleep in order to urinate

Node

A small knot of tissue.

Nucleus pulposus

The soft pulpy centre of an intervertebral disc.

Nutation

Nodding the head.

Nystagmus

Involuntary fluttering of the eyes.

Obesity

An excessive accumulation of fat in the body.

Obstetrics

The branch of medicine dealing with the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Occipital bone

The bone at the posterior and inferior part of the skull and containing the foramen magnum.

Occiput

The back of skull.

Occupational therapy

A procedure whereby a person is given something practical to do to facilitate recovery from illness.

Ocular

Relating to the eye

Oedema

Swelling due to accumulation of fluid in tissue.

Oesophagitis

Inflammation of the gullet.

Oesophagus

The part of the alimentary canal between the pharynx and the stomach (gullet).

Olfaction

The sense of smell.

Olfactory nerves

The nerves of smell.

Omphalic

Relating to the umbilicus.

Onych

Relating to the nails.

Onychalgia

A painful condition affecting the nails.

Oophorectomy

An operation to remove an ovary.

Open fracture

When a broken bone pierces the skin.

Ophthamectomy

The surgical removal of the eye.

Ophthalmic nerve

The nerve supplying the eyeball and eyelids.

Ophthalmitis

Inflammation of the eye.

Ophthalmologist

A specialist in the investigation and treatment of eye diseases and defects.

Ophthalmorrhexis

The bursting open of the eye ball.

Optic nerve

The nerve of sight.

Optometrist

A person who practises optometry.

Optometry

The assessment of visual acuity and the correction of visual defects by the fitting of spectacles.

Orbit

The large bony cavity which contains the eyeball.

Orchidectomy

The surgical removal of the testis.

Orchitis

Inflammation affecting the testis.

Organ

A separate and distinct functional unit of the body.

Organic

Relating to a body organ.

Organism

Anything resembling a living creature in structure and behaviour.

Orthodontist

A dentist who specialises in correcting the mis-alignment of teeth.

Orthopaedics

Relating to the diseases and disorders that cause damage to bones and joints.

Orthopnoea

Shortness of breath on lying flat.

Os calcis

Heel bone.

Ossification

The process by which bone is formed.

Ostectomy

The surgical removal of a bone.

Osteitis

Bone inflammation.

Osteitis Deformans

A chronic disease of the bones causing inflammation and deformity

Osteoarthritis

A degenerative disease of a joint caused by wear and tear

Osteoarthrotomy

An operation to excise the bone adjoining a joint.

Osteochondritis

Inflammation of a bone and its adjacent cartilage.

Osteomyelitis

Inflammation of the interior of a bone.

Osteopath

A person who practices osteopathy.

Osteopathy

A method of treating disease by manipulation.

Osteoporosis

Loss of bony tissue causing bones to become softer and liable to bend or fracture.

Osteorrhaphy

An operation to suture or wire together the fragments of a fractured bone.

Osteotomy

An operation to cut through a bone.

Otology

The branch of medicine which deals with the ear.

Otitis

Inflammation of the ear.

Otosclerosis

A thickening of the bone of the middle and internal ear producing deafness.

Otoplasty

Surgical repair of the ear.

Ova

The plural of ovum.

Ovary

The female gonad.

Ovulation

The development and discharge of an ovum.

Ovum

A female egg.

Paget’s disease

Osteitis deformans.

Palate

The roof of the mouth.

Palmar

The palm of the hand.

Palmarflexion

The bending of the wrist towards the arm.

Palpable

Enlarged.

Palpate

To examine or explore by touch.

Palpitation

Rapid heart action.

Palsy

Paralysis.

Pancreas

A large gland lying on the abdominal wall which secretes insulin.

Pancreatitis

Inflammation of the pancreas.

Papanicolaou’s stain

A method of staining smears of various body secretions to detect the presence of a or smear malignant process.

Paraesthesia

Pins and needles.

Paralysis

Inability to move parts of the body.

Paranoia

A mental disorder characterized by delusions of persecution.

Paraparesis

Paralysis affecting the lower extremities.

Parathesis

Heightened sensitivity of sensation.

Paraplegia

Paralysis of both legs.

Parasympathetic

The part of the nervous system which acts in opposition to the sympathetic nervous system and which slows the heartbeat.

Paravertebral

Situated alongside of the spinal column.

Paresis

Partial paralysis.

Parietal

Relating to the walls of a bodily cavity .

Parietal bone

One of the bones forming the top of the skull.

Parkinson’s disease

A progressive chronic disorder of the nervous system characterised by impaired muscular co-ordination.

Parosmia

Experience of a smell which is not there.

Paroxysm

A sudden attack of a disease .

Patch testing

The application of a number of substances to the body to establish which are responsible for an allergy.

Patella

Knee cap.

Patellectomy

An operation to remove the patella.

Patellofemoral

Relating to the patella and the femur.

Pathogenic

Disease producing.

Pathological

Caused by disease

Pathology

The study of disease.

Pelvic floor

The partition, consisting of muscles, between the pelvis and the perineum.

Pelvimetry

The measurement of the shape and dimensions of the pelvis.

Pelvis

The basin-shaped ring of bone at the lower end of the trunk.

Pemphigus

An autoimmune disorder of the skin.

Penis

The male organ of copulation.

Percussion

The art of striking the chest or abdominal wall in order to produce sound vibrations from which the nature of the underlying structures can be deduced.

Periarthritis

Inflammation of tissue around a joint.

Pericarditis

Inflammation of the pericardium.

Pericardium

The membrane which encloses the heart.

Peridentitis

Periodontitis.

Perineum

The area between the anus and the genital organs.

Periodontal

Situated around a tooth

Periodontitis

Inflammation of the periodontal membrane.

Periostitis

Inflammation of the membrane on the surface of a bone.

Peripheral

Near the surface of an organ.

Peritoneoscope

A surgical instrument for inspection of the contents of the abdomen through an incision in the abdominal wall.

Peritoneum

The membrane which lines the abdominal cavity.

Peritonitis

Inflammation of the peritoneum caused by bacterial infection.

Pertussis

Whooping cough.

Petechia

A small spot (usually red or purple) caused by extravasation of blood.

Petit mal

A form of epileptic fit characterized by abrupt loss of consciousness without convulsion and with rapid recovery.

Phagocytes

Cells which have the ability to destroy bacteria.

Phalanges

The main bones of the digits of both the hand and foot.

Pharynx

The part of the alimentary canal between the mouth and the oesophagus

Phenylketonuria

An hereditary disorder that produces brain damage resulting in severe mental retardation.

Phlebitis

Inflammation of a vein.

Phlebotomy

Venesection.

Phobia

Fear.

Photosensitivity

Abnormal or excessive sensitivity to light.

Phrenic arteries

Branches of the abdominal aorta.

Phrenic nerve

A paired nerve which supplies the diaphragm, pericardium and pleura.

Physiology

The study of how the normal body works.

Physiotherapy

Treatment to restore full movement of a limb by massage, manipulation and exercise.

Pia mater

The innermost membrane covering the brain.

Pisiform

A bone in the wrist.

Pituitary

A gland situated at the base of the brain which secretes hormones affecting skeletal growth.

Placenta

A vascular organ formed in the uterus during pregnancy and which provides oxygen and nutients to the fetus.

Plantar

Relating to the sole of the foot.

Plantar flexion

Flexing the foot.

Plantaris

The muscle in the sole of the foot.

Plaques

Raised patches of skin.

Plasma

The fluid portion of the blood in which the blood corpuscles are suspended.

Platelet

A very small cell in the blood.

Pleura

The membrane enveloping the lungs.

Pleural cavity

The space between the covering of the lungs and the inner surface of the chest wall.

Pleurisy

Inflammation of the pleura.

Plexus

A network of nerves or blood vessels.

Pneumocardial

Relating to the lungs and the heart.

Pneumocentesis

Lung puncture in order to aspirate the contents.

Pneumoconiosis

Lung disease caused by inhalation of dust.

Pneumonia

Inflammation of the spongy tissue of the lung in which the air sacs become filled with fluid making breathing difficult.

Pneumonitis

Inflammation of the lung.

Pneumopericarditis

Pericarditis associated with the presence of air or gas in the pericardium

Pneumothorax

Collection of air in the pleural cavity.

Podiatrist

Achiropodist.

Poliomyelitis

An acute inflammation of the spinal cord due to a virus infection.

Pollux

Thumb.

Polycystic

Composed of or containing many cysts.

Polycythaemia

An excess of red cells in the blood.

Polyneuritis

Inflammation of several nerves at the same time.

Polypus

Tumour attached by a stalk to a surface.

Polyuria

The need to urinate frequently.

Pons

Abridge.

Popliteal

Relating to or near to the part of the leg behind the knee.

Posterior

The back part.

Postero-anterior

From the back to the front.

Postnatal

Relating or belonging to the period immediately following birth.

Postpartum

Following childbirth.

Potassium

A soft white metal related to sodium.

Pott’s disease

Tuberculosis of the spine.

Pott’s fracture

Fracture of the lower end of the fibula, with outward displacement of the ankle and foot.

Pre-eclampsia

A condition arising in pregnancy and characterised by the presence of hypertension, oedema, and/or proteinuria.

Premolar teeth

The teeth which are situated between the molar and canine teeth. There are two on each side of both jaws.

Prenatal

Preceding birth.

Pressure sore

Decubitus ulcer.

Priapism

Persistant erection of the penis.

Proctitis

Inflammation of the rectum.

Proctologist

A doctor who makes a special study of diseases of the anus and rectum.

Prognosis

A doctor’s assessment of how long it will take for a patient to recover.

Progressive

Advancing in severity.

Prolapse

A slipping down or displacement of an organ.

Pronation

The rotational movement of the forearm so that the palm faces downwards.

Proprietary

A drug made and labelled by a particular drug company.

Prostate

A gland (confined to the male) which surrounds the neck of the bladder.

Prostatectomy

An operation to remove the prostate by surgery.

Prostatitis

An inflammatory condition of the prostate.

Prosthesis

An artificial part.

Protein

A type of chemical compound which is present in all living organisms.

Proteinuria

The presence of protein in the urine.

Prothrombin

A constituent of plasma that clots the blood.

Proximal

Nearer to the centre of the body.

Psychiatrist

A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Psycho-analysis

A procedure developed by Freud for the investigation of unconscious mental processes.

Psycho-analyst

A person who practises psycho-analysis.

Psychologist

A person who practices psychology

Psychology

The study of human behaviour by objective testing.

Psychosis

A term applied generally to any kind of mental disorder.

Ptosis

The prolapse or dropping of an organ.

Pubis

The anterior portion of the hip bone.

Pulmonary

Of the lung.

Pulse

A regular contraction and expansion of an artery at each beat of the heart.

Pupil

The dark circular aperture at the centre of the iris of the eye through which light passes.

Purgative

Laxative.

Purpura

A blood disease which causes a red rash.

Pus

A fluid produced by inflammation of tissue consisting of liquified cells.

Pyelonephritis

Inflammation of the kidneys.

Pyorrhoea

A discharge of pus.

Pyrexia

Fever.

Pyrophobia

Morbid fear of fire.

Pyrosis

Heartburn.

Quadrant

One quarter of a circle.

Quadriceps femoris

The mass of muscles on the front of the thigh.

Quadriplegia

Weakness (or paralysis) of the upper limbs.

Rabies

A disease of warm-blooded animals particularly foxes, wolves, bats and dogs which causes fear of water.

Rachialgia

Any painful infection of the spinal column.

Radial nerve

The largest branch of the posterior cord of the brachial plexus.

Radiculitis

Inflammation affecting the root of a spinal nerve.

Radiculopathy

Any diseased condition of the roots of nerves.

Radio-opaque

Not permitting x-rays to pass through.

Radius

The bone to the side of the forearm.

Raynaud’s Disease

Vibration white finger.

Rebound

Pain on removal of pressure

Rectal

Relating or belonging to the rectum.

Rectocele

Protrusion of the wall of the rectum into the perineum or vagina.

Rectum

The lower part of the alimentary canal between the colon and the anus.

Reduction

Bringing back to the normal position.

Reimplantation

The reinsertion in its original situation of an organ or part which has been removed.

Renal

Relating to the kidneys.

Resection

Any surgical removal of a portion of the body.

Respiration

The process by which a living organism takes in oxygen and gives out carbon dioxide.

Respiratory

Acidosis Low pH due to the presence of carbon dioxide.

Retardation

Backwardness.

Retina

The innermost coat of the eyeball.

Retinal

Relating to the retina.

Retinitis

Inflammationof the retina.

Retinopathy

Any diseased condition of the retina.

Retrenchment

A surgical procedure for the removal of redundant tissue.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A progressive inflammatory disease of joints.

Rheumatism

Any ache in joints

Rhinitis

Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.

Rhinoplasty

The correction by surgery of a deformity of the nose.

Rhizotomy

The cutting of a nerve root for the relief of pain.

Rickets

A disease in children caused by a deficiency of vitamins which results in the softening of bones.

Right homonymous hemianopia

Visual loss of the right field of vision.

Rigor mortis

Stiffening ensuing soon after death.

Rubella

German measles.

Rubeosis

Redness of the skin.

Rupture

Hernia

Sac

A pouch like part.

Sacral

Relating or belonging to the sacrum.

Sacrolumbar

Relating or belonging to the sacrum and the lumbar region.

Sacrum

A curved triangular bone in the lower part of the back.

Saline

Salt.

Salmonella

A type of bacteria.

Salpingectomy

The surgical removal of a fallopian tube.

Salpingitis

Inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

Saphenous vein

Superficial veins of the foot and leg.

Sarcoidosis

A disease which causes inflammation of organs eg skin, eyes, lungs.

Sarcoma

A malignant tumour of connective tissue.

Sartorius muscle

A long strap like muscle that aids flexion of the knee.

Scaphoid bone

A bone in the wrist.

Scapula

The shoulder blade.

Sciatica

Pain in the sciatic nerve down the back of the leg.

Sciatic nerve

The largest nerve in the body, running from the lower spine to the pelvis and down the back of each thigh.

Sclera

The outer, opaque fibrous coat of the eyeball.

Sclerosis

Hardening of a tissue due to inflammation.

Scoliosis

Abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.

Scrotum

A pouch of skin and subcutaneous tissue containing the testes, situated below the root of the penis.

Section

To cut or divide an organ by surgery.

Semen

Aseed.

Sepsis

Infection with pus forming micro-organisms.

Septicaemia

A type of infection in which the blood stream is invaded by bacteria.

Septum

A dividing partition between two tissues or cavities.

Sequestrectomy

An operation to remove dead bone.

Sequestrum

A portion of dead bone which has become detached from the healthy bone tissue.

Serology

A branch of medical science which is concerned with the study of blood serum.

Serum

A yellowish fluid that remains after whole blood or plasma has been allowed to clot.

Sign

What a doctor can see.

Silicosis

A form of lung disease, caused by inhalation of silicon dust.

Simple fracture

When a bone breaks cleanly in two.

Sinus

Any bodily cavity or hollow space.

Sinusitis

Inflammation of a sinus.

Small intestine

The part of the alimentary canal consisting of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.

Sodium

A metallic element used in medicine.

Soleus muscle

A muscle of the calf.

Spasm

A sudden, powerful, involuntary contraction of a muscle.

Sperm

Semen.

Sphenoid bone

A bone forming the central part of the base of the skull.

Sphincter

Any muscle closing an orifice.

Spina bifida

A defect in the development of the spine in which the spinal cord protrudes through a gap in the backbone.

Spinal canal

A passage through the middle of the spinal colum that contains the spinal cord.

Spinal column

The backbone.

Spinal cord

A cord of nerve tissue within the spinal canal which together with the brain forms the nervous system.

Spirometer

Apparatus used to determine the capacity of the lungs.

Spleen

A gland situated near the stomach which filters bacteria from the blood.

Splenectomy

The surgical removal of the spleen.

Spondylitis

Inflammation of the joints of the back bone.

Spondylo-listhesis

The slipping forward of one vertebra onto another.

Spondylolysis

The breaking down of vertebrae.

Spondylosis

Osteoarthritis of the spine.

Sprain

Injury by sudden traction to the muscles or ligaments although not sufficient to cause a fracture.

Spur

A projecting portion of bone.

Stapes

One of the bones in the cavity of the ear which has a resemblance to a stirrup.

Staphylococcus

A type of bacteria.

Stenosis

The abnormal narrowing of an opening or passage.

Sternum

The breast bone.

Stethoscope

An instrument for listening to sounds within the body.

Stillbirth

The birth of a dead baby.

Stomach

The sac like part of the alimentary canal in which food is stored until it is digested.

Strain

To injure by overtaxing.

Streptococcus

A type of bacteria.

Stress incontinence

Incontinence caused by coughing, sneezing or laughing.

Stroke

A sudden seizure caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.

Subarachnoid space

The space between the arachnoid and the pia mater.

Subcutaneous

Beneath the skin.

Subdural haematoma

Bleeding under the skull which compresses the brain.

Subluxation

Partial dislocation of a joint, so that the bone ends are mis-aligned but still in contact.

Superficial

Near to the surface.

Supination

The outward rotation of the forearms, so that the palm lies upwards.

Supracondylar

Above a condyle.

Supraorbital

Situated above the orbit.

Suprapubic

Situated above the pubic arch.

Sural nerve

A branch of the popliteal nerve in the calf of the leg.

Suture

A surgical stitch.

Sympathetic

A part of the nervious system which acts in opposition to the parasympathetic nervous system and which accelerates the heartbeat.

Symphysis

The growing together of separate bones in a joint.

Symptoms

What the patient describes.

Syncope

A faint flow.

Syndesmosis

A fibrous joint in which the opposing surfaces are held together by a ligament.

Syndrome

A distinct group of symptoms or signs which, associated together, form a characteristic clinical picture.

Synostosis

The joining of bones by the ossification of the connecting tissues.

Synovectomy

The cutting away of part or all of a synovial membrane.

Synovia

A fluid secreted by the membrane lining a joint.

Synovial effusion

Extra fluid generated by a synovial membrane.

Synovitis

Inflammation of the membrane lining a joint.

Tachycardia

Abnormally rapid heart rate.

Talus

The ankle bone.

Tarsalgia

Aching pain in the sole of the foot.

Tarsus

Bones of the foot.

Tay-sachs disease

A disease of childhood in which there is a progressive degeneration of nerve cells throughout the whole nervous system and in the retina.

Temporal

Located in the region of the temple.

Temporal bone

One of a pair of bones lying at the base of the skull and housing the middle and inner ear.

Temporomandibular

Connecting the temporal bone and the mandible.

Tendinitis

Inflammation of a tendon.

Tendon

A band of fibrous tissue which attaches a muscle to a bone.

Tenoplasty

An operation to repair a damaged tendon.

Tenorrhaphy

An operation to unite the ends of a severed tendon.

Tenosynovitis

Inflammation of a tendon producing pain and swelling.

Tenotomy

The cutting of a tendon by surgery.

Tensor

A muscle that stretches or tightens some part of the body.

Testicle

The male gonad.

Testis

Testicle.

Tetanus

An infectious disease caused by organisms entering through an abrasion or wound of the skin.

Tetraplegia

Quadriplegia.

Thenar

Relating to the ball of the thumb.

Thoracic

Relating to the chest

Thoracotomy

An operation to incise the wall of the thorax.

Thorax

The chest.

Thrombophlebitis

Phlebitis following the formation of a blood clot.

Thrombosis

The presence of a thrombus which impedes blood flow.

Thrombus

A clot of co-agulated blood that forms within a blood vessel and remains at the site of the formation.

Thyroid

A gland at the base of the neck which releases hormones which control metabolism and body growth.

Tibia

The shin bone.

Tibial nerves

Nerves that constitute the main nerve supply of the leg and foot.

Tinnitus

Noise heard in the ear without external cause.

Tonsil

A mass of lymphoid tissue at the back of the throat.

Tonsillectomy

The surgical removal of a tonsil.

Torso

The body excluding the head, neck and limbs.

Torticollis

Spasm of the neck muscles, drawing the head to one side and twisting the neck.

Trabeculae

Bands of tissue which pass from the outer covering of an organ to the interior.

Trachea

The tube which carries air from the larynx to the bronchus (the windpipe).

Tracheostomy

An operation to open the windpipe so that air may obtain direct entrance into lower air passages.

Tracheotomy

A surgical incision into the wind pipe.

Traction

The drawing or pulling of a limb or the spine.

Transurethral

Passing through the urethra.

Trapezium

A bone in the wrist near the thumb.

Trapezius muscle

A large flat muscle located in the upper portion of the back.

Trauma

A bodily injury or wound.

Trendelenburg test

A test for function of the hip muscle.

Trephination

The surgical removal of a circular disc of bone or other tissue with a cylindrical saw.

Triceps

Three-headed.

Trigeminal nerve

The 5th cranial nerve which supplies the muscles of the mandibular and maxilla.

Triquetrum

A bone in the wrist.

Trismus

Inability to open the mouth due to chronic contractions of the muscles of the jaw.

Trocar

A surgical instrument used to puncture bodiliy cavities.

Trochanter

Either of the two bony prominences at the upper end of the femur.

Trochlear nerve

The 4th cranial nerve which supplies the muscles of the eye.

Trunk

Torso.

Tuberculosis

A bacterial disease which affects the lungs.

Tuberosity

A rounded protuberance on the surface or side of a bone.

Tumour

An abnormal swelling formed by a new growth of cells.

Turbinate

Shaped like an inverted cone.

Tympanic cavity

The middle ear.

Typhoid

A bacterial disease which causes a fever.

Ulcer

The disintegration of the surface of the skin resulting in an open sore.

Ulna

The inner bone of the forearm.

Ulnar nerve

One of the primary nerves in the arm.

Umbilical cord

A long flexible tube like structre which connects the fetus to the placenta.

Umbilicus

Navel.

Ungual

Relating to the nails.

Urea

A colourless crystalline substance which exists in blood and tissue fluids and which is produced by protein metabolism and excreted in urine.

Ureter

Tubes which take urine from the kidney to the bladder

Urethra

The canal through which the urine passes on its way from the bladder to the exterior.

Urethritis

Inflammation of the urethra.

Urinary tract

The vessels which pass urine from the kidney to the urethra via the bladder.

Urine

The fluid which is secreted by the kidneys and which is stored in the bladder and excreted through the urethra.

Urticaria

A skin rash caused by the sudden release of histamine

Uterus

A hollow, thick-walled, muscular organ lying within the pelvic cavity of the female and which houses the developing fetus.

Vaccination

The process or act of inoculating a person.

Vagina

The female genital canal.

Vaginitis

Inflammation of the vagina.

Vagus nerve

The 10th of the cranial nerves which supplies the heart, lungs and viscera.

Valgus

Turned away from the midline of the body.

Valgus deformity

Bow-legged.

Valvotomy

The surgical severing of a valve.

Varus

Turned inwards towards the midline of the body.

Vascular

Concerned with vessels that circulate fluids.

Vein

A vessel carrying oxygen depleted blood to the heart.

Venesection

A surgical incision into a vein.

Venography

Visualisation of veins by x-ray after injecting a radio-opaque contrast medium.

Venous

Relating to the blood circulating in the veins.

Ventral

Relating to the front part of the body.

Ventricle

A small cavity, chamber, or compartment.

Vertebra

A bony segment of the spinal column.

Viscera

Intestines.

Vertigo

Giddiness.

Virus

An organism smaller than a bacteria which is surrounded by a protein coat which causes disease.

Visceral

Concerned with the internal organs, including the heart, lungs, liver and stomach.

Visual acuity

Sharpness of vision.

Volar

The palm of the hand.

Volkmann’s contracture

Fixed deformity of the hand due to fibrosis of muscle following injury to blood supply.

Vomen

The thin bony part of the septum of the nose.

Vulva

The external genitals of human females.

Watershed infarcation

A stroke effecting the boundary between the parietal and occipital lobes of the brain.

Whiplash

A violent forward and backward movement of the head upon the neck.

Whitlow

Inflammation around a finger nail.

Windpipe

The trachea.

Womb

Uterus.

Wrist drop

Paralysis of the extensor muscles of the hand and digits.

Xeroderma

Dryness of the skin.

Xeropthalmia

Dryness of the cornea.

Xerosis

Abnormal dryness of the eyes.

Zygoma

The cheek bone.

Zygote

A fertilised ovum.

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Gadsby Wicks