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Glossary of Surgical Terms

When doctors and nurses talk about surgery, they can sound like they are speaking a foreign language. Instead of hunting for a translator, bone up on surgical terms here (presented to you in plain English).

Ablation Defined
Ablation defined, surgical ablation explained.

Abscess Defined
An explanation of abscess. The definition of abscess with examples.

Acute Abdomen: What Is It?
What is an acute abdomen? Does an acute abdomen mean surgery is necessary? Find out what the term acute abdomen means.

Acute Definition
Acute definition. Find out what acute means and why it matters in medicine.

Adenoids Defined
What are adenoids, where are they and what do they do.

Adipose Tissue
Find out what adipose tissue is, what it does and why it is necessary. Also, find out why adipose tissue can complicate surgery.

Ambulatory Surgery Definition
Learn more about ambulatory surgery. What is ambulatory surgery and how is it different from conventional surgery.

Analgesics and Analgesia Explained
Find out what analgesics are and what analgesia means. Learn more about analgesics here.

Anastomosis Defined
The surgical term anastamosis explained in detail, with image.

Anesthesiology Defined
The definition of anesthesiology, including an explanation of the types of anesthesia.

Anterior Defined
The definition of the word anterior, find out the meaning of anterior.

Antibiotics Explained
What exactly is an antibiotic? What do they treat, and what do they not treat? Learn more about antibiotic medications here.

Anticoagulants Explained
Wondering about anticoagulants and surgery? Learn more about what anticoagulants are and why they are used for surgery patients.

Antifungal Drugs
Antifungal drugs are a category of medications. Find out more about antifungals, why they are used, how they are given here.

Anxiolytic Drugs Explained
Learn more about anxiolytic drugs, including why anxiolytic medications are prescribed.

Apnea Definition
Find out what apnea is, what causes apnea and how apnea is diagnosed.

Appendectomy Defined
Appendectomy defined

Artery Definition
Artery defined. Learn what artery means and how arterial blood differs from venous blood.

Astigmatism: What Is An Astigmatism?
What is an astigmatism? Find out what an astigmatism is, how an astigmatism is diagnosed, astigmatism treatments and more.

Attending Surgeon Defined
Learn about the different education levels of physicians, including attending, fellow, resident, intern and medical student. Attending Defined. Who is an attending. Do I need an attending? Is an attending better than a non-attending?

Augmentation Surgery Definition
Considering an augmentation surgery? Find out what augmentation surgery is, types of augmentation surgery that are available and more.

Bacteremia Defined
Looking for information on bacteremia? Find out what bacteremia is, what causes bacteremia and more.

Bariatrics Defined
The definition of bariatric.

Bilateral Defined
The definition of bilateral. An explanation of the term bilateral.

Biopsy Defined
What is a biopsy, why is a biopsy performed and what is the purpose of a biopsy.

Blood Poisoning Defined
Blood poisoning explained, including what blood poisoning is, how is it treated, who is at risk for blood poisoning.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Defined
Explaining what a body mass index means and how it is calculated.

Cardiac Defined
The definition of cardiac.

Cardiothoracic Defined
The definition of cardiothoracic, including surgical specialty and surgical procedures.

Catheter Definition
What is a catheter and why is it used, find out what a catheter is and why a catheter is used in medicine.

Cervical Defined
The definition of cervical, what does cervical mean, including cervical vertebrae and a woman's cervix,

Cervix Defined
Definition of the cervix

Cholecystectomy-Gallbladder Removal Defined
Cholecystectomy defined

Chronic Definition
The term chronic is explained in detail.

Circulating Nurse Definition
Wondering what a circulating nurse is, and what a circulating nurse does? Learn more about circulating nurse job duties and more.

Clitoris Defined
What is the clitoris and where is it located? Understand the purpose of the clitoris, the location and more.

Colon Rectal Surgery Defined - What is Colon Rectal Surgery
An explanation of the surgical specialty of colon rectal surgery.

Congenital Definition - What Does Congenital Mean
An explanation of the term congenital, including congenital birth defects and congenital diseases.

Coronary Arteries Defined
Definition of coronary arteries

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Defined
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) defined

Coup Contrecoup Brain Injuries
Learn more about coup contrecoup traumatic brain injuries. Find out what a coup contrecoup injury is, and what makes it different from other types of brain injuries.

Learn what debridement it, why it is done and the methods used for debridement in and out of surgery.

Diurectic Drugs Explained
Find out what a diuretic drug is, how it works and why it is given.

Dumping Syndrome Defined
The definition of dumping syndrome.

Duodenum Defined
Duodenum defined.

DVT: Deep Vein Thrombosis
Learn what a DVT, or deep vein thrombosis is, where they are commonly found and why they are more common after surgery.

Dyspnea Defined
What is dyspnea? What does the term dyspnea mean? Find out what dyspnea means.

Endotracheal Tube Defined
Endotracheal tube defined

Escharotomy Defined
Explaining what an escharotomy is and why this surgical procedure is done for burn patients.

Excise, Excision Definition
Excise, or excision surgery, explained. Find out what excision means and how it applies to your surgery.

Fallopian Tubes Defined
Fallopian tubes defined.

Fellowship Definition
What is a fellow? What is a surgical or medical fellowship? Learn more about how physicians are educated, what it means to be a fellow, and how a surgery fellowship plays a role in the training of new doctors.

Fistula Definition
What is a fistula? Learn about fistulas and what causes a fistula.

Foley Catheter Definition
Need information about Foley Catheters? Wondering what a foley catheter is, why it is use and how a foley catheter is used? Learn all about Foley Catheters here.

General Anesthesia Defined
Definition of general anesthesia

General Surgery Defined
The definition of general surgery, with the practice of general surgeons explained.

Gynecology Surgery Defined
The definition of gynecology surgery, including the types of procedures performed by surgeons specializing in gynecology.

Hemorrhage (Haemorrhage) Definition
What is hemorrhage, and when is bleeding technically a hemorrhage, or haemorrhage? Learn more about hemorrhage, how it is treated and when it is a medical emergency.

Hepatic Defined
Hepatic explained in detail.

Hernia Defined
The definition of the word hernia.

Ileum Defined
The Definition of Ileum

In Situ Definition
In situ definition, what in situ means.

In Situ Definition
What does "in situ" mean? Find out what in situ means, how to pronounce in situ, and much more.

Incision Explained
What exactly is an incision, and why is it necessary? Learn more about surgical incisions.

Inpatient Surgery Defined
Inpatient surgery defined.

Intern Definition
What is an intern? What kind of doctor is an intern? What does intern mean and why is it important? Find out what you need to know if you are being cared for by an intern.

Intubation Defined
The definition of intubation, an explanation of why intubation is done and images of intubation.

Jejunum Defined
The definition of jejunum.

Kidneys Defined
The kidneys are very important organs in the human body, without the kidneys a person will require dialysis.

Lap Band Definition
What is the Lap Band and why is it used? Learn about the Lap Band and weight loss surgery.

Laparoscope Defined
Laparoscope defined

Laparoscopic Surgery
The definition of laparoscopic surgery

Laser Surgery Definition
Learn more about laser surgery.

Local Anesthesia Defined
There are several types of anesthesia, local anesthesia is one of the types used for minor procedures.

Lymph Nodes Defined
An explanation of the function of lymph nodes, their location and more.

Malabsorptive Surgeries
Malabsorptive weight loss surgery defined.

Mammogram Defined
A mammogram is a test performed to examine breast tissue. Learn more about what a mammogram is, how it is performed and why.

Mastectomy Defined
What is a mastectomy and why is a mastectomy performed. The definition of surgical mastectomy.

Maxillofacial Surgery Defined
Maxillofacial surgery defined.

Meninges Definition
Learn what the meninges are, what they do, the different layers of the meninges and what the pia mater, dura mater and arachnoid mater have to do with the meninges.

Microsurgery Defined
An explanation of microsurgery. What is microsurgery and when is microsurgery appropriate.

Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery. What is it, why is it done, and how is minimally invasive surgery performed?

MRI Defined
Learn what an MRI does, how it works and why you might need one.

Myopia Defined
Find out what myopia is, how it is treated and more.

Necrosis Definition
Necrosis explained in detail, including the cause of necrosis.

Neurosurgery Definition
An explanation of the term neurosurgery.

Obstetrics Defined
The definition of obstetrics, including surgery.

Oncology Surgery Defined
The definition of oncology surgery, or surgical oncology.

Open Surgery Defined
The definition of "open" surgery.

Operation Defined
What is an operation? What does operation mean? What is the difference between a surgery and an operation? Find out about operations and how to prepare for one.

Ophthalmology Defined
The definition of ophthalmology, including surgery.

Oral Surgery Defined
The definition of oral surgery, including the practice of maxillofacial surgery. Includes the types of procedures performed by oral surgeons.

Organ Transplant Surgery Defined
The definition of transplant surgery.

Orthopedic Surgery Defined - What is Orthopedic Surgery
The branch of orthopedic surgery explained.

Otolaryngology (Ear Nose and Throat) Defind
The definition of Otolaryngology.

Outpatient Surgery
Outpatient procedure defined.

Ovary Defined
The definition of ovary.

Palliative Care Definition
Learn more about palliative care and palliative medicine, find out what palliative care is, when it is appropriate and more.

Pancreas Defined
Of all the organs in the human body, the pancreas is one of the least understood. Find out what the pancreas does, where it is and why it is so important.

Paralytic Drugs Explained
Learn more about paralytic medications and why they are used.

Patient Controlled Analgesia Explained
Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) explained.

Patient Defined
What is the definition of patient? Who is a patient? Learn what a patient is, then find more information about being an informed patient.

Pediatric Surgery Defined
An explanation of the surgical specialty of pediatric surgery including when an adult may be treated by a pediatric surgeon.

Penetrating Trauma Definition
Find out more about penetrating trauma including what penetrating trauma is, what causes it and more.

Penetrating Trauma Definition
Find out more about penetrating trauma including what penetrating trauma is, what causes it and more.

Perioperative Defined
Learn what perioperative means, how long the perioperative period lasts and what happens during the perioperative phase.

Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery Defined
The practice of plastic surgery defined, including areas of practice of plastic surgeons. Find out what reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery means.

Podiatry Defined - What is a Podiatrist
Podiatry explained. What is podiatry, what does a podiatrist do, when do you need a podiatrist.

Post Operative Defined
What does post operative mean? When does the post operative period end? What happens during the post operative phase of surgery? Learn these things and more!

Preoperative Definition
What does preoperative mean? How long is the preoperative phase of surgery? When does the preoperative period end? Find out the definition of preoperative and what you need to know in the preoperative phase of surgery.

Prolapse Defined
Prolapse explained in detail, including uterine prolapse.

Prophylactic Defined - The Meaning of Prophylactic
What does prophylactic mean? The definition of prophylactic, such as prophylactic mastectomy and prophylactic antibiotics. The definition of prophylactic.

Prostatitis Definition
Learn more about prostatitis, including what prostatitis is, what causes prostatitis and more. The risks of prostatitis are also discussed.

Pulmonary Defined
Pulmonary explained in detail

Pus Defined
An explanation of the term pus, including what pus is made of, what pus means and why pus is a problem after surgery.

Referred Pain Defined
Referred pain explained, learn more about referred pain.

Regional Anesthesia Defined
There are several types of anesthesia, regional anesthesia is one type used during minor procedures.

Resection Defined
Resection surgery explained in detail. Learn more about surgical resections.

Resident Defined-What is a Resident
An explanation of the different levels of education for doctors, including medical and surgical residents. Know who is taking care of your healthcare!

Restrictive Weight Loss Surgery Defined
The definition of restrictive weight loss surgery.

Rhinoplasty. What is rhinoplasty and what does the word rhinoplasty mean?

Scrub Nurse
Looking for information about nursing careers including scrub nurse jobs? Wondering who will be in the operating room during your surgery? Find out more about scrub nurse jobs and the role they play in the operating room.

Scrub Tech Definition
Wondering what a scrub tech is, and what a surgical scrub does? Learn about surgical scrub technicians, what they do in surgery and how they function in an operating room.

Sepsis Defined
Sepsis after surgery can be a life-threatening complication. What is sepsis, what causes sepsis and what is done to treat sepsis. Understand when sepsis becomes septic shock and the treatments necessary.

Sex Change Operation Defined
Learn more about sex change surgery, what a sex change surgery is, why it is done and more.

Shunt Defined
What is a shunt? What does shunting mean? Find out what a shunt it and what shunting means here.

Spinal Anesthesia
Learn what spinal anesthesia is, why spinal anesthesia is used and when spinal anesthesia is the best option.

Spleen Explained
What does the spleen do and how does it function? Find out what the spleen does and why you can live without it.

Stricture Definition
What is a stricture. Find out what a stricture is, what causes a stricture and how strictures can be treated.

Surgeon Definition
Surgeon explained. The types of surgeons explained in detail. Learn about surgeons, types of surgeons and more.

Surgery Defined - What Does Surgery Mean
The definition of surgery, including what is surgery and what does surgery mean. Learn what surgery includes, what you need to know before having surgery and much more.

Surgical Defined
Surgical terminology, what does surgical mean? Surgical technology, surgical techniques, surgical procedures. Understand the meaning of surgical.

Sutures Defined
The definition of surgical sutures.

The Prostate
Prostate Information. Find out more about the prostate. Learn what the prostate gland does, where the prostate is located, why the prostate can interfere with urination and more.

Thoracic Surgery Defined
An explanation of what thoracic surgery is, the structures a thoracic surgeon operates on and more.

Tonsillith or Tonsil Stone Defined
An explanation of the term tonsillith or tonsil stone.

Tonsillitis Defined
What is tonsillitis, what causes tonsillitis and how is it treated.

Tonsils Defined
An explanation of what tonsils do, where they are and what they are.

Trauma Surgery Defined
The definition of the surgical specialty of trauma.

Tumescent Anesthesia
Learn more about tumescent anesthesia, why tumescent anesthesia is used and when it is used.

TURP Syndrome
TURP syndrome, also known as TUR syndrome, is a serious complication after prostate surgery. Find out what TURP syndrome is and what causes TURP Syndrome. Learn the symptoms of TURP syndrome here.

Twilight Sleep Defined
Twilight Sleep is a commonly used term to describe a type of anesthesia.

Ultrasound Definition
What is an ultrasound test, why is it done and how does it work.

Umbilicus Defined
The definition of umbilicus, along with how it is created.

Uterus Defined
The definition of uterus.

Vagina Defined
The definition of vagina

Vascular Surgery Defined
An explanation of the term vascular surgery.

Ventilator Defined
Ventilators explained in detail. Why do you need a ventilator, why will a ventilator be used and how does it work.

Weight Loss Surgery Definition
What is weight loss surgery and why do people have weight loss surgery

What are Cataracts?
What are cataracts? Find out what a cataract is, what causes cataracts and how cataracts are treated.

What Are Esophageal Varices?
What are esophageal varices? What does it mean when someone has esophageal varices? Find out what esophageal varices are and what causes them.

What Are Hemorrhoids?
Find out what hemorrhoids are. What is a hemorrhoid? What are hemorrhoids? What is the difference between a hemorrhoid and a bloody pile.

What Are Varicose Veins
Do you think you have varicose veins or are you wondering what exactly are varicose veins? Find out what a varicose vein is and what causes varicose veins.

What Is An Antigen?
What is an antigen and how does it determine what blood types are compatible. Find out more about antigens.

What is LASIK Surgery?
Questions about LASIK surgery? Start here and find your LASIK surgery answers.

What Is Lazy Eye or Amblyopia
What is lazy eye? Find out what lazy eye (amblyopia)is and the treatments that are available for lazy eye.

What Is Presbyopia?
What is presbyopia? Find out what presbyopia is, how presbyopia is treated and how presbyopia is diagnosed.

What Is the Hymen?
The Hymen explained. What is the hymen? What does the hymen do? Where is the hymen located? Find out what the hymen is and more.

What Is the Prostate Gland
Find out what the prostate gland is and the function of the prostate gland.

What is the Cornea?
What is the cornea? Find out what the cornea is, what the cornea does and what the cornea looks like.

Hyperopia: What is it?
What is hyperopia? Find out what hyperopia is, what causes hyperopia and how hyperopia can be treated and corrected.

The Retina: What Does the Retina Do?
What is the retina? Find out what the retina is, what the retina does and more information about the retina.

Sclera Definition
What is the sclera? What is the plural of sclera? Find out what the sclera is, what it does and more about the eye.

What Is Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspiration pneumonia is a serious condition. Find out more about aspiration pneumonia, including the causes.

Septicemia Definition
What is septicemia? Find out the definition of septicemia, causes of septicemia, how septicemia is treated and more.

Elective Surgery
What is elective surgery? Find out what an elective surgical procedure is, why it is considered elective and more.

What is Debridement?
What does it mean to debride a wound? What is debridement and how is it done?

Internal Hemorrhoids Explained
What exactly is a hemorrhoid? Find out what an internal hemorrhoid is, what causes them, hemorrhoid treatments, and more.

What Is a Prolapsed Hemorrhoid?
What is a prolapsed hemorrhoid? Learn more and about prolapsed hemorrhoids and get the information you need.

What Are External Hemorrhoids?
Get information about external and internal hemorrhoids.

Bloody Pile Information
What is a pile? Find out more about bloody piles, or haemorrhoids.

What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Find out what a doctor of osteopathic medicine means and what a D.O. degree is.

Pulmonary Embolism In Detail

Pfannenstiel Incision: The Bikini Line Abdominal Incision
Find out about the Pfannenstiel incision, commonly known as the bikini line incision.

Gram Stain, Culture and Sensitivity Testing
Learn what the terms gram stain, culture and sensitivity mean.

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