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113 terms

Surgical Terms

A brief glossary of surgical terms, helpful for medical terminology courses and surgical clerkships
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Abscess
Localized collection of pus, surrounded by inflamed tissues
Achlorhydria
Abscence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach
Acholic stool
Light-colored stool as a result of decreased bile content
Adeno-
Prefix denoting gland(s)
Adhesion
Union of two normally separate surfaces, often refers to a painful post-surgical internal scar tissue what fuses abdominal viscera
Adnexa
Adjoining parts; usually means ovary/fallopian tube
Adventitia
Outer coat of the wall of a vein or artery, composed of loose connective tissue
Afferent
Toward (as in sensory nerves which carry signals toward the brain)
-algia
Suffix denoting pain
Amaurosis fugax
Transient visual loss in one eye
Ampulla
Enlarged or dilated ending of a tube or canal
Analgesic
Drug that prevents pain
Anastomosis
Connection between two tubular organs or parts
Anergy
Lack of response to a specific antigen
Angio-
Prefix denoting blood or lymph vessels
Anomaly
Any deviation from the normal (congenital or developmental defect)
Apnea
Cessation of breathing
Atelectasis
Collapse of alveoli
Bariatric
Weight reduction
Beta
B-HCG (pregnancy test)
Bifurcation
Point at which division into two branches occurs
Bile salts
Alkaline salts of bile necessary for the emulsification of fats
Bili-
Prefix denoting bile
Boil
Tender inflamed area of the skin containing pus
Bovie
Electrocautery tool
Calculus
Stone
Carbuncle
A large collection of boils (furuncle) with multiple drainage channels
Cauterization
Destruction of tissue using heat
Celiotomy
Surgical incision into the peritoneal cavity (same as laparotomy)
Cephal-
Prefix denoting the head
Chole-
Prefix denoting bile
Cholecyst-
Prefix denoting gallbladder
Choledocho-
Prefix denoting the common bile duct (CBD)
Chyme
Bolus of food that passes from stomach to duodenum
Cleido-
Prefix denoting the clavicle
Colic
Intermittent abdominal pain usually indicating pathology in the bowels
Colloid
Serum proteins, albumin
Colonoscopy
Endoscopic examination of the colon
Colostomy
Surgical operation in which part of the colon is brought through the abdominal wall
Constipation
Infrequent or difficult passage of stool
Cor pulmonale
Enlargement of the right ventricle caused by lung disease and resultant pulmonary hypertension
Curettage
Scraping of the internal surface of an organ or body cavity by means of a spoon-shaped instrument
Direct bilirubin
Conjugated bilirubin (has been processed by the liver, is water soluble and can be excreted in the urine)
-dynia
Suffix denoting pain
Dys-
Prefix: difficult/painful/abnormal
Dyspareunia
Painful sexual intercourse
Dysphagia
Difficulty swallowing
Ecchymosis
Bruise
-ectomy
Suffix denoting surgical removal
Efferent
Away from, as in motor neurons carrying impulses away from the brain toward the muscles
Endarterectomy
Surgical removal of an atheroma and the inner part of the vessel wall to relieve an obstructed vessel
CEA
Carotid endarterectomy
Enteritis
Inflammation of the small intestine, usually causing diarrhea
Enterolysis
Lysis of peritoneal adhesions; not to be confused with enteroclysis, which is a contrast study of the small bowel
Enteroclysis
Contrast study of the small bowel
Eschar
Scab produced by the action of heat or a corrosive substance on the skin
Excisional biopsy
Biopsy with removal of entire tumor
Fascia
Sheet of strong connective tissue
Fistula
Abnormal communication between two hollow, epithelialized organs, or between one such organ and the exterior of the skin
Foley
Bladder catheter
Frequency
Usually denotes abnormally increased frequency (i.e. urinary)
Furuncle
One boil, a small subcutaneous staphylococcal infection of a follicle
Gastropexy
Surgical attachment of the stomach to the abdominal wall
Hemangioma
Benign tumor of blood vessels
Hematemesis
Vomitting of blood
Hematoma
Accumulation of blood within the tissues, which clots to form a solid swelling
Hemoptysis
Coughing up blood
Hemothorax
Blood in the pleural cavity
Hepato-
Prefix denoting the liver
Herniorrhaphy
Surgical repair of a hernia
Hesitancy
Difficulty initiating urination
Hiatus
Opening or aperture
Hidradenitis
Inflammation of the apocrine glands, usually cause by blockage
Icterus
Jaundice
Ileostomy
Surgical connection between the lumen of the ileum and the skin of the abdominal wall
Ileus
Abnormal intestinal motility (usually paralytic)
Induration
Abnormal hardening of a tissue or organ
Inspissated
Hard
Intussusception
Telescoping of one part of the bowel into another
-itis
Suffix denoting inflammation of an organ or tissue
Leiomyoma
Benign tumor of smooth muscle
Leiomyosarcoma
Malignant tumor of smooth muscle
Lieno-
Denoting the spleen
Melena
Black tarry stool (melenic)
Necrotic
Dead
Obstipation
Failure to pass flatus or stool
Odynophagia
Painful swallowing
-orraphy
Surgical repair
-ostomy
General term referring to any operation in which an artificial opening is created between two hollow organs, or through the abdominal wall for drainage (colostomy) or feeding (gastrostomy)
-otomy
Suffix denoting surgical incision into an organ
Percutaneous
Performed through the skin
-pexy
Suffix denoting fixation
Phleb-
Prefix denoting vein
Phlebolith
Calcification in a vein
Phlegmon
Diffuse inflammation of soft tissue resulting in a swollen mass (often seen in pancreatic tissue)
Plica
Fold or ridge
Plicae circulares
Circular folds in the lumen of the small intestine (A.K.A. valvulae conniventes)
Plicae semilunares
Semicircular folds into lumen of the large intesting
Pneumaturia
Passage of urine containing air
Pneumothorax
Collapse of lung with air in pleural space
Pseudocyst
Fluid-filled cavity resembling a true cyst, but not lined with epithelium
Pus
Liquid product of inflammation, consisting of dying leukocytes and other fluids from the inflammatory response
Rubor
Redness; a classic sign of inflammation
Steatorrhea
Fatty stools as a result of decreased fat absorption
Stenosis
Abnormal narrowing of a passage or opening
Sterile field
Area covered by sterile drapes or prepped in sterile fashion using antiseptics such as Betadine
Succus
Fluid (succus entericus = fluid from the bowel lumen)
Tenesmus
Urge to defecate with ineffectual and often painful straining
Thoracotomy
Surgical opening of the chest cavity
Transect
To divide transversely (to cut in half)
Trendelenburg
Patient posture with pelvis higher than the head, inclined about 45 degrees
Urgency
Sudden strong urge to urinate; often seen with UTI
Wet-to-dry dressing
Damp gauze dressing placed on a wound and removed after the dressing dries to the wound, providing microdebridement