Glossary of Medical Terms: Common Procedures and Tests

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A

Abdomen / AbdominalArea between the chest and the hips that contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.
AdhesionA band of scar tissue that joins normally separated internal body structures, most often after surgery, inflammation, or injury in the area.
AdnexaConjoined, subordinate, or associated anatomic parts.
Allergen Multi-Box ScreenAllergen screen for immunoglobin E. A "box" is a category test, such as of trees or mold. If a tree category allergy is detected, then an allergen-specific test would be done to determine which tree.
Allergen-Specific AntigenAllergen screen for immunoglobin E. This is an individual test for a specific allergy.
ALTAlanine amino transferase.
Amniotic FluidClear liquid that surrounds and protects the fetus throughout pregnancy.
AnesthesiologistSpecialist who administers anesthetics (drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during medical procedures) to a patient before being treated.
AngiographyX-ray that uses dye injected into arteries so that blood circulation can be studied.
AngioplastyThe use of a small balloon on the tip of a catheter inserted into a blood vessel to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.
AnteroposteriorIn x-ray imaging, taken or viewed from front to back (as opposed to from back to front, which is posteroanterior).
Aortic AneurysmSwelling of the main blood vessel leaving the heart (aorta), usually representing an underlying weakness in the wall of the aorta at that location.
Aortic ValveThe valve that regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta.
AppendectomySurgical removal of the vermiform appendix.
ArthroscopyA minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
ASTAspartate amino transferase.
Average Direct Pay PriceThe average price a self-pay patient will pay when in the hospital for an inpatient stay or outpatient procedure. Arrangements can be made to pay over time.
Average Prompt Pay PriceThe average price a Self Pay patient will pay when paid-in-full in advance of an inpatient stay or outpatient procedure.
Average Total ChargesThe estimated average total charges a person will experience when in the hospital for an inpatient stay or outpatient procedure.

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B

Basic Metabolic PanelA group of eight tests used as a general screening tool.
BilateralAffecting both sides of the body. For example, bilateral breast cancer is cancer occurring in both breasts at the same time.
BilirubinBilirubin is a substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. A bilirubin test measures the amount of bilirubin in the blood.
Blood Type ABOA blood test that categorizes blood into one of four types: A, B, AB or O.
Blood Type RhA blood test that checks for the presence or absence of the Rh antigen, also called the Rh factor.
Brain LesionA destructive change in brain tissue, such as a wound, injury or inflammation.

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C

Carotid ArteryThe major artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain.
Carpal TunnelPassageway in the wrist through which nerves and the flexor muscles of the hands pass.
CauteryInstrument or substance used to destroy tissue by burning it with a hot iron, electric current, caustic, or by freezing it.
CCComplication or comorbidity
C DifficileClostridium difficile: an intestinal bacteria that can be detected by a culture.
CellulitisSubcutaneous inflammation of connective tissue.
Cervical SpineThe area of the spinal cord located in the neck.
CervixRelating to the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.
Cesarean SectionSurgical procedure to deliver a baby through an incision in the lower abdomen and uterus.
Charge SpecialistContact a John C. Lincoln Health Network Charge Specialist.
ChlamydiaA sexually transmitted disease.
CholecystectomySurgical removal of the gallbladder.
ColonLarge intestine.
ColonoscopyEndoscopic examination of the colon.
ComorbidityExisting simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition.
Comprehensive Metabolic PanelA group of 14 tests used as a general screening tool.
ContrastA substance that is opaque to x-rays. When administered, it allows a radiologist to examine the organ or tissue it fills.
CoronaryCoronary arteries come from the aorta to provide blood to the heart muscle.
Coronary BypassSurgical procedure in which a healthy blood vessel is transplanted from another part of the body into the heart to replace or bypass a diseased vessel.
Coronary CatheterizationMinimally invasive procedure that accesses coronary circulation and blood-filled chambers of the heart using a catheter. It is performed for both diagnostic and interventional (treatment) purposes.
CPKCreatine phosphokinase: an enzyme present in various tissue types.
CPT CodeCurrent Procedural Terminology (CPT) is a code used by all hospitals, physicians and insurance companies to identify a specific type of service or procedure.
CreatinineA waste product formed by the breakdown of a substance (creatine) important for converting food into energy (metabolism).
CT ScanComputed Tomography (CT) is a non-invasive, diagnostic procedure that uses a series of x-rays to show a cross-sectional view of the inside of the body.
CystoceleCondition in which weakened pelvic muscles cause the base of the bladder to drop from its usual position down into the vagina.

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D

DebrideTo cleanse by surgical removal of lacerated or contaminated tissue.
Diagnostic X-RayDiagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
DRG CodeDiagnosis-Related Group (DRG) is a code system used to classify hospital cases for the purpose of reimbursements from programs such as Medicare.
Drug-Eluting StentA stent is a small, lattice-shaped, metal tube inserted permanently into an artery to hold it open so that blood can flow through it. Drug-eluting stents are stents that contain drugs that reduce the chance the arteries becoming blocked.
DuodenumThe first section of the small intestine.

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E

EdemaAn abnormal excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue or in a serous cavity.
EmbolismThe sudden obstruction of a blood vessel by an embolus.
EndarterectomyThe surgical removal of plaque or blood clots in an artery.
EndometriumMucous membrane lining of the inner surface of the uterus that grows during each menstrual cycle and is shed in menstrual blood.
EndoscopicRelating to a procedure that uses an endoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, to diagnose or treat a condition.
EnteroceleProlapse of the small intestine through the top of the vagina.
Esophageal SphincterA circular band of muscle which connects the esophagus to the stomach.
Estimated Average ChargeThe estimated average charge is an approximate calculation of the total hospital charges for a specific service or procedure at a Purple.org facility. It is not a fixed quote. An estimated average charge does not include other fees from your surgeon, anesthesiologist, pathologist or radiologist.
Ethmoid SinusSinus of the meatuses (passageways) of the nasal cavity (behind the bridge of the nose).
ExtremityThat part of a limb that is farthest from the torso.

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F

Fallopian TubesThin tubes that extend from each side of the uterus, toward the ovaries, as a passageway for eggs and sperm.
FemurThighbone.
FerritinA protein in the body that binds to iron.
Fetus / FetalUnborn baby from the eighth week after fertilization until delivery.
FibroidsNon-cancerous growths in, on, or within the walls of the uterus.
FibulaCalf bone; the outer and thinner of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and ankle.
FibularRelating to the fibula (calf bone), the outer, narrower, and smaller of the two bones of the lower leg, extending from the knee to the ankle.
FluoroscopyStudy of moving body structures, similar to an X-ray "movie." A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
ForearmThe part of the arm between the elbow and the wrist.
Free T4A test to help evaluate thyroid function.
FusionCorrection of an unstable part of the spine by joining two or more vertebrae. Usually done surgically, but sometimes done by traction or immobilization.

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G

GastroenterostomySurgical creation of an opening between the stomach wall and the small intestines; performed when the normal opening has been eliminated.
GC PCRA test to identify the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea.
GIGastrointestinal
Glucose TestA test to measure the amount of a type of sugar in the blood.
Glycated Hemoglobin Test (Hgb A1C)A test to measure the amount of glucose concentration over a period of time.

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H

HemoglobinHemoglobin is a substance within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body.
HematocritThis test measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells occupy in the blood.
HerniaProtrusion of part of an organ through the muscle that surrounds it.
HIVHuman immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight infection and disease.
HysterectomySurgical removal of the uterus.

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I

Image Post-ProcessingManipulating the information from the CT scan to better visualize the part of the body that is being examined.
Incarcerated / StrangulatedCompressed, constricted, or obstructed so as to cut off the flow of blood or other fluid.
IncisionalRelating to the surgically cutting of or into body tissues or organs.
InfusionThe introducing of a solution into a vein.
InguinalRelating to or near the groin.
Inpatient ProcedureA procedure that requires the patient to stay at the hospital at least one night.
Insurance (Commercial/Private)An employer provided or personally purchased insurance policy that provides coverage for health care services. Deductibles, coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits and types of coverage vary.
Internal FixationThe stabilization of broken bones by direct fixation to one another with surgical wires, pins, screws, or plates.
Ionized Calcium TestA test to measure the amount of calcium that is not bound to protein in the blood.
IschemiaDeficient supply of blood to a body part that is due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood.

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L

LaparoscopicRelating to the use of a viewing tube with a lens or camera (and a light on the end), which is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to examine the contents of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
LAP-BAND Laparoscopic(Laparoscopic Gastric Banding) A common bariatric procedure which involves the placement of an adjustable silicone elastic band on the upper part of the stomach typically using a laparoscopic technique.
Lead TestA test to measure the amount of lead present in the blood.
LigationThe tying of a duct or blood vessel with a ligature to prevent bleeding during surgery.
LipaseLipase is an enzyme that helps digest fats.
Lipid PanelA group of tests used to measure lipids, or fatty substances, in the body. The panel includes total cholesterol, types of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Liver/Hep Function PanelA group of tests used to detect and monitor liver disease or damage.
LumbarRelating to or near the lower back between the ribs and the hipbones.
LumbosacralRelating to or near the small of the back and the back part of the pelvis between the hips.
Lymph Node(s)Small organs located in the channels of the lymphatic system which store special cells to trap bacteria or cancer cells traveling through the lymph vessels.

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M

Magnesium LevelA test to measure the amount of magnesium in the blood.
MammogramX-ray of the breast tissue.
MammographyDiagnostic procedure to detect breast tumors by the use of X-rays.
MastectomySurgical removal of all or part of the breast.
MCCMajor complication or comorbidity.
MeniscusCrescent-shaped cartilage between the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone).
Microalbumin TestA test that measures the amount of albumin in the urine. Albumin is a protein that is produced in the liver and released into the blood.
Mono TestA test for mononucleosis, an infectious disease caused by a virus.
MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram)Diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the blood vessels.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)Diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

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N

Nasal SeptumPartition of bone and cartilage between the nasal cavities.
Natriuretic Peptide/Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) TestA test for natriuretic peptide or brain natriuretic peptide, a hormone that is an indicator of how efficiently the heart is working.
NeonateA newborn infant.

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O

Obstetric PanelA group of blood tests performed before and during a pregnancy.
Occult Blood ScreenA test to detect blood in the stool by placing a small sample of stool on a chemically treated card, pad or wipe.
Other ChargesEstimated average hospital charges do not include physicians fees such as your surgeon, anesthesiologist, pathologist or radiologist. They will bill you separately for their services.
OtitisInflammation of the ear.
Outpatient LocationA non-hospital surgical facility dedicated to providing outpatient surgery and procedures.
Outpatient ProcedureA procedure that does not require the patient to stay overnight at the hospital.

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P

PathologistPhysician who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
PCRPolymerase chain reaction, a technique used in a number of laboratory tests.
Pelvic FloorMuscles and connective tissue providing support for pelvic organs; e.g. bladder, lower intestines, uterus (in females); also aids in continence as part of the urinary and anal sphincters.
PelvisBasin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column and contains the sacrum, coccyx, and hip bones (ilium, pubis, and ischium).
PeritonealRelating to the peritoneum, or the lining of the abdominal cavity.
PETA noninvasive, painless procedure that combines the technology from a positron emission tomography (PET) and a computed tomography (CT) to create one highly powerful diagnostic imaging system.
PhosphorousPhosphorus is a component of DNA and RNA and is necessary for all living cells.
PleurisyInflammation of the pleura that is characterized by sudden onset, painful and difficult respiration and exudation of fluid or fibrinous material into the pleural cavity.
PotassiumPotassium is an essential component necessary for all living cells.
Procedure CodeA code used by all hospitals, physicians and insurance companies to identify a specific type of service or procedure.
ProlapsingA condition that occurs when an internal organ slips from its normal position.
ProsthesisArtificial body part replacement.
Protime (INR)A test to measure the clotting tendency of blood.
PSAA prostate-specific antigen screen to evaluate the possibility of prostate cancer.
PTTPartial thromboplastin time measures the time it takes the blood to clot.
Pulmonary EmbolismsBlockage of the pulmonary (lung) artery by foreign matter or by a blood clot.

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Q
Quality of CareLearn about HonorHealth's quality of care.
Quality Report CardView HonorHealth's quality report cards.

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R

Radiological MarkerPlacing a needle into the area that may be surgically removed.
RadiologistPhysician specializing in the field of radiology (x-rays or other imaging technologies, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.
RectoceleCondition in which weakening of the lower vaginal wall causes the rectum to bulge into the vagina.
RecurrentTo occur again; reappearance of cancer cells at the same site or in another location.
ReduciblePermitting of reduction; capable of being reduced.
Reduction of FractureCorrection or realignment of a broken bone.
RetroperitonealRelating to the area behind the abdominal cavity, including: kidneys, bladder, and portions of the duodenum, pancreas, and colon.
Rotator CuffMuscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint and attach the scapula to the bone in the upper arm (humerus); major function is to control and produce rotation of the shoulder.
Roux-en-Y LaparoscopicA form of gastric bypass surgery that can also be performed as an open procedure when necessary.

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S

SacralReferring to the sacrum, the wedge-shaped bone consisting of five fused vertebrae forming the posterior part of the pelvis.
ScrotumBag of skin that holds the testicles.
SED RateA sedimentation rate test measures the speed in which blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. Abnormalities in the blood can cause cells to sink more rapidly.
SepticemiaInvasion of the bloodstream by bacteria, viruses, or fungi from an infection; also called blood poisoning.
ShuntA connector to allow blood flow between two locations.
Skin LesionDestructive change in skin tissue, such as a wound, injury, or inflammation.
Spinal CanalThe passageway in successive vertebrae through which the spinal cord passes.
StomaMouth like surgical opening on the surface of the body to create access to an internal organ.
SupineLying face upward.
SurgeonPhysician who specializes in surgery.

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T

Thin Prep Pap ScreenA type of test used to screen for cervical cancer.
ThoracicRelating to the chest or thorax.
Throat CultureA test to detect and identify a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the throat.
Thyroid GlandEndocrine gland located in the neck that regulates metabolism (the chemical processes in the body) and growth; the gland produces thyroid hormone.
TibiaShin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
TransurethralThrough the urethra (narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body).
TransvaginalThrough the vagina (the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods).
TSHThyroid stimulating hormone is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that is used to regulate thyroid function.

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U

UltrasoundDiagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
UmbilicalReferring to the rope-like cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.
UrinalysisA physical or chemical test of the urine.
Urine Pregnancy TestA test to look for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), also called the pregnancy hormone. This hormone is only present during pregnancy.

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V

VascularPertaining to blood vessels.
Vena CavaEither of two large veins that return oxygen-depleted blood to the right atrium of the heart.
VentralToward or on or near the belly.
Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is necessary for creating new red blood cells, maintaining nervous system health, and growth and development in children.

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X

X-RayDiagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

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Additional Sources

Additional sources referenced for glossary term definitions include:

  1. Wordnet.princeton.edu - WordNet 2.1 Copyright 2005 by Princeton University. All rights reserved. WordNet is an online lexical reference system developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University.
  2. Thefreedictionary.com: Copyright 2006 by Farlex, Inc.
  3. The American Heritage Stedmans Medical Dictionary, Second Edition - Houghton Mifflin
  4. FDA.gov: U. S. Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville MD 20857-0001
  5. Labtestsonline.org: Copyright 2001-2007 by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry

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