HEALTHCARE

Abdominoplasty

Commonly referred to as a 'tummy tuck,' an abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to flatten the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening the muscles located in the abdominal wall.

Acupuncture

Developed in China, with the belief that a life-force is essential for good health, acupuncture is an ancient therapeutic technique .The Chinese believe that the life energy (chi) flows through the body along pathways called meridians. Disrupted body functions or disease is considered the result of interrupted flow. The needles restore the flow to resolve health. Needles of length 0.5 to 5 inch (12 to127 mm) are placed in specific parts of the body to relieve a number of conditions from back pain to toothache, neuralgia, headaches and even stopping smoking. Alternative methods to acupuncture include pressure or heat being used in the place of needles.Western medicine is increasingly accepting acupuncture as a treatment and it is thought that a form of Anaesthesia may be induced by stimulation of sensory nerves. This would stimulate the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to release endorphins (the body's natural painkiller). If the patient has a strong psychological belief that it will work, this could be contributory.

Ambu bag

Also known as a bag valve mask or BVM. It is a hand-held device which is used to provide ventilation to a patient who is not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. After it is squeezed, the bag is self-inflating. A BVM is a normal part of a resuscitation kit for trained professionals. It is commonly used by ambulance crews and hospitals, and is an essential part of a crash cart. It is also extensively used in the operating room to ventilate an anesthetised patient in the period of time before a mechanical ventilator is attached.

Amplifiers

Electronic devices that increase the strength of an input signal, or apparatus for increasing the magnification of a microscope.

Amputation

Amputation is a surgical procedure involving the removal of all or part of a limb of the body. Amputation is generally performed to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb such as gangrene or a malignancy.

Anaesthesia

Loss of feeling or awareness. General anesthetic puts a patient to sleep. Local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body such as a tooth or an area of skin without affecting consciousness. Regional anesthetic numbs a larger part of the body without affecting consciousness. Conduction anesthetic (often used in procedures such as a C-Section) encompasses both local and regional anesthetic techniques, allowing surgical procedures to be done without significant pain.

Anaesthetic agent

A drug, usually in vapourised form, which is used to reduce or abolish the sensation of pain, consciousness or muscle activity. Examples of anaesthesia agents are halothane, enflurane, isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane.

Anaesthetist

Physician administration of anaesthetics to alleviate pain and suppress consciousness, as well as monitor and support life functions during surgery. Anaesthetists can also provide diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain.

Aneurism

An aneurism is a medical term for a blood vessel abnormality characterised by a weakening of the wall of an artery. This abnormality leads to a progressive 'ballooning' of the vessel wall, which forms a sac filled with blood. An aneurism can occur in many arteries in the body. Those which occur in the blood vessels of the head which supply blood to the brain are known as cerebral aneurisms.

Anterior & posterior (A&P) repair

The repair of a cystocele (anterior) or rectocele (posterior). See the related terms Anterior Repair and Posterior Repair.

Anterior repair

The repair of a cystocele, which is a herniation of the bladder wall into the vagina, which sometimes occurs after childbirth.

Arrhythmia

Irregularity of the heart rhythm or an abnormality in the pattern or time of the heartbeat.

Arthroplasty

A generic term for any joint surgery designed to restore joint function. In many cases, a prosthetic device is used to replace the native joint totally or partially. A total arthroplasty involves prosthetic replacement of both sides of a joint, whereas a hemiarthroplasty involves replacement of only one side of a joint, such as a hip bipolar prosthesis.

Bone forceps

Strong forceps used for seizing or removing fragments of bone.

Bone plate

A bone plate is a thin metal implant used to immobilise bone segments. The plate is affixed with screws to properly align the bone and aid in the healing process.

Bone screw

A bone screw is a metal implant inserted into the bone. Screws are used to immobilise fractured bone segments to aid in the healing process, and as an adjunct to spine fusion surgery to help hold implants in place.

Brachial stethoscope

A strap-on stethoscope head with a long tube attaching it to the ear-pieces. It fits under a cuff encircling the patient's arm which can be inflated and deflated remotely so that the drapes do not have to be disturbed.

Breast reduction

Also known as 'reduction mammoplasty', a breast reduction is normally performed as an outpatient procedure. This surgical procedure involves the removal of fat, excess breast tissue, and skin, resulting in a smaller breast size. This procedure is normally performed in women who are experiencing back pain or self-esteem issues due to the size of their breasts.

Cancellus bone screw

A type of bone screw with a smooth shank proximally and coarse threads distally. It is designed to be inserted into cancellous bone. The threads should not cross a fracture line.

Cataract

A cataract is a clouding or opacity in the lens of the eye. A cataract obstructs the passage of light to the eye, and can vary in degree ranging from slight to complete opacity. Early development of a cataract can result in myopia (near-sightedness), while the gradual yellowing and opacification of the lens can reduce the eye’s ability to perceive blue colours. While a cataract can typically be removed by surgery, an untreated cataract can cause vision loss and blindness.

Cauterisation

The act of coagulating blood and destroying tissue with a hot iron or caustic agent or by freezing.

Cautery

A method of reducing bleeding during transfusion-free surgery. It entails the intentional surgical destruction of tissue, either because the tissue is abnormal or to seal off a bleeding area. This can be achieved through the use of heat, freezing, chemical scarring, electricity, light and ultrasonic or microwave energy.

Cerebral aneurism

Commonly known as a 'brain aneurism', a cerebral aneurism is a blood vessel abnormality characterised by a bulging of the walls of a blood vessel which supply blood to the brain. Over time, the blood pressure inside the aneurism can lead to the expansion and eventual rupture of the aneurism.

Chalazion

Often confused with styes, a chalazion is a small sebaceous cyst on the eyelid which appears as a bump on the eyelid. It is caused by the inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland, which is a fat-secreting gland of the eyes. A chalazion differs from a stye (hordeolums) in that a chalazion is usually larger than a style, and it is generally painless except for the tenderness which is caused as it swells. A chalazion may eventually disappear on its own after a few months, but usually requires some treatment.

Conjunctiva

The thin, transparent mucous membrane which covers the sclera (white part of the eye), lines the inside surface of the eyelid, and extends from the edge of the eye lids to the cornea.

Conscious sedation

An alternative to general anaesthesia in patients for whom general anaesthesia is refused or considered inadvisable. It involves the administering of an anti-anxiety drug and an analgesic or local anaesthetic. This renders the patient free of anxiety and pain while allowing the patient to remain in verbal contact with the physician or dentist.

Cosmetic surgery

A surgical procedure which is performed to improve the physical appearance of the body, rather than for medical necessity.

Craniotomy

Commonly known as 'brain surgery', a craniotomy is the medical term for all surgical procedures that are performed through an opening in the skull. Frequently, a craniotomy is performed in neurosurgical operations to achieve access to the brain and other structures of the head. A craniotomy may be performed to treat or remove cancer, for clipping of an aneurism, for removal of a vascular malformation, to correct a brain disorder, or to repair a brain injury.

Cytodiagnosis

Diagnosis of the type and, when feasible, the cause of a pathologic process by means of microscopic study of cells in an exudate or other form of body fluid.

Debridement

The removal of foreign material and devitalised or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed.

Dermatome

A surgical instrument used to produce thin slices of skin from a donor area, in order to use them for making skin grafts.

Desiccator

A closed, sealable vessel (usually made of heavy glass) which contains a desiccant (such as a silica gel). A desiccator is used in laboratories for protecting moisture-sensitive materials and protecting sensitive materials from humidity.

Dissection

Dissection is the process or disassembling and observing something to determine its internal structure. In medical pathology, dissection refers to a tear in the wall of a blood vessel. The term also applies to the separation of the layers of arterial tissue in the aorta as a result of blood being forced out into the wall of the aorta through a tear in the innermost layer of tissue.

Electrocautery

The process of destroying tissue with electricity. Widely used in modern surgical practices, this procedure is frequently used to stop bleeding of small vessels or for cutting through soft tissue (such as abdominal fat in a laparotomy or breast tissue in a mastectomy).

Electrocoagulation

Electrosurgical procedures used to treat hemorrhage and to ablate tumours, mucosal lesions, and refractory arrhythmias.

End tidal

A medical term used to describe the state pertaining to or occurring at the end of a normal exhalation.

End tidal CO2

A measurement of the carbon dioxide in the air exhaled from the body. The normal value is 4% to 6%, which is equivalent to 35 to 45 mm Hg.

Ethrane

A non-flammable liquid used as an inhalation general anaesthetic.

Forceps

An instrument resembling a pair of pincers, used for grasping, manipulating, or extracting, especially in surgery.

Glaucoma

An eye disease that is characterised by increased pressure within the eyeball, caused by a slow rise in the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and cause impaired visions and blindness.

Haematology

The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the blood and bone marrow as well as of the immunologic, haemostatic (blood clotting) and vascular systems. Because of the nature of blood, the science of haematology profoundly affects the understanding of many diseases.

Haemostasis

A complex process which causes the bleeding process to stop. Most times this includes the changing of blood from a fluid to a solid state.

Halothane

A non-flammable inhalation anaesthetic that produces general anaesthesia; used along with analgesics and muscle relaxants for many types of surgical procedures.

Intrapartum

Occurring chiefly with reference to a mother during the act of labour and birth.

Intubation

The process of inserting a breathing tube into the throat down to the tracea. This tube is connected to an ambu bag, respirator, or ventilator which pushes measured amounts of air into the lungs and lets it out again to assist the patient with breathing.

Irrigation

The washing of a body cavity or surface by a flowing solution which is inserted and then removed.

Isoflurane

A widely used inhalation anaesthetic.

Jenner's method

The production of immunity to a disease by inoculation of an attenuated form of the virus causing the disease. Also called jennerisation.

Joule

The International System unit of electrical, mechanical, and thermal energy.

Kick bucket

Commonly used term used for a medical receptacle, usually made of stainless steel, which is mounted on wheels. The term kick bucket refers to the concept that the bucket is mounted on wheels and is therefore easily moved around the operating room by the foot. During a surgical procedure, numerous pliable and disposable articles (generally referred to as sponges) are used to absorb blood or fluids encountered during the procedure. Personnel toss the used sponges into the buckets placed about the operating room. At the end of the procedure, an operating room nurse or technician can count the sponges in the bucket to ensure that all sponges used during the procedure have been accounted for.

Limulus test

Sensitive method for detection of bacterial endotoxins and endotoxin-like substances that depend on the in vitro gelation of Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), prepared from the circulating blood (amebocytes) of the horseshoe crab, by the endotoxin or related compound. Used for detection of endotoxin in body fluids and parenteral pharmaceuticals.

Mayo stand

A portable stand (or table), usually constructed of stainless steel, which is used to provide easy access to medical equipment during a procedure. Mayo stands are designed to allow for easy repositioning and for easy placement over the patient to allow instrument access without disrupting the medical procedure.

Medical air

Clean compressed air that can be used for patient ventilation.

Medical gas

Any gaseous substance that meets medical purity standards and has application in a medical environment, such as oxygen, nitrous oxide and air.

Nasalplasty

Often referred to as rhinoplasty, this cosmetic surgery procedure is performed to change the shape of the nose and create a more pleasing appearance. A nasalplasty can be performed at the same time as a functional (reconstructive surgery) procedure to improve breathing difficulties (such as a septoplasty procedure).

Neonatal

Referring to the first 4 weeks of an infant's life.

Ophthalmology

The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the physiology, anatomy, and pathology of the eye and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.

Ophthalmoscope

A device used to examine the retina and interior structures of the eye. This instrument includes a mirror that reflects light into the eye and a central hole through which the eye is examined.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

Surgery to correct a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.

Pediatrics

Medical specialty concerned with the development, care and diseases of children, typically ranging in age from premature or newborn to adolescents of up to 15 years of age.

Posterior repair

The repair of a rectocele, which is a herniation of the rectum into the vagina, which can occur if the pelvic muscles are weakened by childbirth.

Public health dentistry

Concerned with the prevention and control of dental diseases by means which include organised community efforts.

Pulmonary disease

Concerned with diseases of the lungs and airways.

Radiation oncology

Radiation oncology is the branch of radiology that uses radiant energy and isotopes in the study and treatment of diseases, especially malignant cancer.

Reconstructive surgery

A surgical procedure which is performed to correct or repair abnormalities caused by injury, birth defects, disease, infections, or other surgeries. The goal of reconstructive surgery is to restore function and/or appearance to the body.

Reduction mammoplasty

More commonly known as 'breast reduction', a reduction mammoplasty is normally performed as an outpatient procedure. This surgical procedure involves the removal of fat, excess breast tissue, and skin, resulting in a smaller breast size. This procedure is normally performed in women who are experiencing back pain or self-esteem issues due to the size of their breasts.

Reproductive endocrinology

Concerned with the problems related to endocrinology and infertility.

Retractor

A surgical instrument used to hold back organs or the edges of an incision.

Reverse trendelenburg

A position in which the lower extremities are lower than the body and head, which are elevated on an inclined plane.

Rheology

The study of the deformation and flow of matter, usually liquids or fluids, and of the plastic flow of solids. The concept covers consistency, dilatancy, liquefaction, resistance to flow, shearing, and viscosity.

Rheumatology

Concerned with the diseases of the joints, muscles, bones, and tendons, including arthritis, back pain, and muscle strains.

Rhinolaryngoscope

A rigid medical device used in the examination of the upper respiratory tract. The instrument includes a lamp at the tip for illumination and a built-in optical system.

Rhinoplasty

Often referred to as a 'nose job', rhinoplasty is a type of plastic surgery which is performed to change the structure of the nose either to improve the appearance or to correct a deformity or injury. This procedure can be performed to reshape or resize the nose, remove a bump, reshape the tip, improve the angle between the nose and the upper lip, etc.

SCD

A commonly used acronym for a Sequential Compression Device. See the term Sequential Compression Device for more information.

Septoplasty

A surgical procedure which is performed to correct nasal septum deviation (i.e., an internally crooked nose divider). This procedure is done to improve the flow of air to your nose by repairing the malformed cartilage and/or the 'bony' portion of the nose.

Sevoflurane

A non-flammable highly fluorinated methyl isopropyl ether used for the induction and maintenance of general anaesthesia. Along with desflurane, sevoflurane is replacing isoflurane and halothane in modern anaesthesiology. It is now the preferred agent for mask induction due to its lesser irritation to mucous membranes.

Stretcher

Medical equipment used for transporting casualties or an incapacitated person from one place to another. Stretchers vary greatly based on the intended use, and can range from a simple construction of canvas stretched between poles (for mobile rescue efforts) to sophisticated hospital stretchers that allow for adjustable positioning for patient comfort during transportation.

Sundry jar

A receptacle designed to hold miscellaneous items. In a medical setting, sundry jars are used to hold an assortment of small accessories, such as cotton or tongue depressors.

Surgical Instruments

There is evidence that early man operated on each other with various 'instruments', Stone Age people may have even practiced acupuncture ! The earliest types were probably flint tools used for trepanning the skull. Later the Ancient Greeks and Hindu surgeons used steel knives, scissors, forceps and needles. As the need for cleanliness became apparent, wooden handled instruments were superseded by all metal instruments suitable for sterilisation. Steel was first nickel plated and then replaced by stainless steel as the preferred material. New materials are constantly being brought into use such as titanium, ceramic and plastics.

Syringe

An instrument used to inject fluids into the body or draw them from it.

T-piece circuit

A breathing circuit used in anaesthesia, which is shaped like the letter 'T'. The exhaled gases are passed into a reservoir tube from which they are pushed by fresh gas from the anaesthetic machine as it passes from the stem to the other arm of the T during expiration. There are no valves.

Thoracic surgery

Operative care of patients with conditions within the chest, including coronary artery disease, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, heart valve and major vessel abnormalities.

Tissue dissection

Tissue dissection is a general medical term for the process of cutting apart or separating tissue in a surgical procedure. The process includes a careful operation which removes some structures but preserves others. For example, the removal of cancerous tissue, as in the separation of tissue during a breast biopsy or mastectomy, is a type of tissue dissection. See also: dissection.

Tracheotomy

Also referred to as a tracheostomy, this term refers to an incision made through the neck into the windpipe to create a temporary outside opening in order to bypass the mouth and throat which is made when the upper airway is blocked.

Tranquiliser

A drug that depresses the central nervous system causing relaxation, reduction of anxiety, drowsiness and slowed breathing.

Trauma surgery

Concerned with the treatment of wounds and injuries through surgical methods.

Treadmill test

Also known as an 'exercise stress test', this term refers to a test which is performed to determine irregular heart rhythms which may occur during exercise.

Trendelenburg

A position in which patients are on their backs with the head and chest lowered and the legs elevated.

Urological surgery

Concerned with medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the urinary and male reproductive systems.

Vascular surgery

Concerned with the surgical treatment of disorders of the blood vessels.

Volt

A unit of electromotive force in the International System of Units that will produce a current of 1 ampere in a circuit that has resistance of 1 ohm.

Wall suction unit

Medical suction units that plug into the wall suction supply. Wall suction units include a connector to mate with the wall suction outlet, a gauge to show the vacuum, a control valve, filters and a reservoir.

Wavelength

The distance between one peak or crest of a wave of light, heat, or other energy and the next corresponding peak or crest.

Wisconsin test cassette

A special X-ray film cassette that produces a pattern on the X-ray film caused by differing attenuations through various thicknesses of copper in the cassette. The pattern produced allows calculation of the kilovoltage of the X-ray set.

Yankauer suction tip

A suction tip with a large opening surrounded by a bulbous head and is designed to allow effective suction without damaging surrounding tissue. This tool is used to suction oropharyngeal secretions in order to prevent aspiration.

Zickle device

A system designed for the stabilisation of pathologic femur fractures and subtrochanteric hip fractures. It consists of an intramedullary rod and tri-flanged femoral neck nail combination.