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Caesarian section (C/S, c-section) (si-ZAR-ē-ăn SEK-shŏn): Delivery of the fetus through an abdominal incision.

calyces (KĀ-lĭ-sēz): A cuplike cavity or structure.

cancer (KAN-sĕr): A process where abnormal cells in the body divide uncontrollably.

capillary (KAP-ĭ-ler-ē): A microscopic channel that supplies blood to the tissues through perfusion.

capnometer (kăp-NŎM-ĕ-tēr): Instrument used to measure carbon dioxide.

carbohydrates (kăr-bō-HĪ-drāts): The sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

carcinogenic (KARS-ĭn-ŏ-JEN): Causing cancer.

cardiac (KĂR-dē-ăk): Pertaining to the heart.

cardiac muscle (KĂR-dē-ăk MŬS-ĕl): The heart muscle also known as the myocardium. Its appearance is similar to skeletal muscle. It pumps blood and gives the heart beat.

cardiac notch (KĂR-dē-ăk noch): The cardiac notch is an indentation on the surface of the left lung.

cardiac output (KĂR-dē-ăk OWT-put): Cardiac output is the measurement of blood flow from the heart through the ventricles, and is usually measured in liters per minute. Any factor that causes cardiac output to increase, by elevating heart rate or stroke volume or both, will elevate blood pressure and promote blood flow.

cardiac tamponade (KĂR-dē-ăk tam-pŏ-NĀD): The pericardial sac surrounding the heart has filled with blood or other fluid and the resulting pressure is preventing the heart from beating effectively.

cardiac troponin (KĂR-dē-ăk TRŌ-pŏ-nĭn): The regulatory protein for muscle contraction.

cardiogenic (kăr-dē-ō-JĔN-ĭk): Originating in the heart.

Cardiologist (kăr-dē-ŎL-ō-jĭst): A physician who studies and treats diseases of the heart.

cardiology (kăr-dē-ŏl′ō-jē): Study of the heart.

cardiomegaly (kăr-dē-ō-MĔG-ă-lē): Enlarged heart.

cardiomyopathy (kard-ē-ō-mī-OP-ă-thē): Disease of the heart muscle.

carina (kă-RĪ-nă): The carina is a ridge of cartilage that separates the two main bronchi.

carotid artery (kă-ROT-ĭd ART-ĕ-rē): A large artery in the neck.

carpal (KĂR-păl): Pertaining to carpal (wrist).

carpectomy (kăr-PĔK-tō-mē): Excision of a carpal (wrist).

cataract (KAT-ă-rakt): Abnormal progressive disease of lens characterized by lack of transparency or cloudiness.

cauda equina (KOWD-ă ek-WĒ-nă): Bundle of spinal nerve roots that descend from the lower spinal cord below the first lumbar vertebra and lie within the vertebral cavity; has the appearance of a horse’s tail.

caudate (KAW-dāt): Nucleus deep in the cerebrum that is part of the basal nuclei; along with the putamen, it is part of the striatum.

cauterize (KAW-tĕr-īz): To burn tissues by various means with the intent to destroy damaged tissues, prevent infections or coagulate blood vessels.

CD4 T cells: CD4 is the receptor that HIV uses to get inside T cells and reproduce. CD4+ helper T cells play an important role in T cell immune responses and antibody responses.

celiac disease (SĒ-lē-ăk diz-ĒZ′): Inflammation of the intestines caused by exposure to gluten.

celiotomy (sē-lē-ŎT-ō-mē): Incision into the abdominal cavity.

cell (sel): Smallest independently functioning unit of a living organism.

cellulitis (sel-yŭ-LĪT-ĭs): Bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, characterized by redness, pain, heat, and swelling.

central nervous system (CNS) (SĔN-trăl NĔR-vŭs SIS-tĕm): Anatomical division of the nervous system located within the cranial and vertebral cavities, namely the brain and spinal cord.

central sulcus (SĔN-trăl SŬL-kŭs): Surface landmark of the cerebral cortex that marks the boundary between the frontal and parietal lobes.

centrifuged (sĕn-TRĬF-ū-ged): A centrifuge is a common piece of laboratory equipment used to spin test tubes at a high speed in order to separate components in a liquid by weight.

cephalgia (sĕf-ĂL-jē-ă): Pain in the head (headache).

cephalic presentation (sĕ-FAL-ĭk prē-zen-TĀ-shŏn): Birth position in which any part of the head emerges first.

cephalic version (sĕ-FAL-ĭk VĔR-zhŏn): Pertaining to turning the head; this procedure is done on the fetus when they are in the head-down position.

cephalopelvic disproportion (sĕf-ă-lō-PĔL-vĭk dis-prŏ-POR-shŏn): A condition where the infant’s head is larger than the pelvic outlet and therefore will require a c-section.

cerclage (ser-KLAZH): A suture inserted into the cervix to prevent dilation and prevention miscarriage. The suture is removed when the fetus is full-term and allows the vaginal delivery to proceed.

cerebellitis (sĕr-ĕ-bĕl-Ī-tĭs): Inflammation of the cerebellum.

cerebellum (sĕr-ĕ-BĔL-ŭm): Region of the adult brain connected primarily to the pons that developed from the metencephalon (along with the pons) and is largely responsible for comparing information from the cerebrum with sensory feedback from the periphery through the spinal cord.

cerebral (SĚR-ă-brĭl, să-RĒ): Pertaining to the brain.

cerebral angiography (SĚR-ă-brĭl, să-RĒ an-jē-OG-ră-fē): Process of recording (blood) vessel pertaining to the cerebrum.

cerebral cortex (SĚR-ă-brĭl, să-RĒ KOR-teks): Outer gray matter covering the forebrain, marked by wrinkles and folds known as gyri and sulci.

cerebral hemisphere (SĚR-ă-brĭl, să-RĒ HEM-ĭ-sfēr): One half of the bilaterally symmetrical cerebrum.

cerebral thrombosis (SĚR-ă-brĭl, să-RĒ throm-bō′sĭs): Abnormal condition of blood clot pertaining to the cerebrum (blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain).

cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (sĕr-ĕ-brō-SPĪ-năl FLOO-ĭd): Circulatory medium within the CNS that is produced by ependymal cells in the choroid plexus filtering the blood.

cerebrum (SĔR-ĕ-brŭm): Region of the adult brain that develops from the telencephalon and is responsible for higher neurological functions such as memory, emotion, and consciousness.

cervical cancer (KAN-sĕr): Malignant tumor of the cervix, which progresses from cervical dysplasia to carcinoma. Its cause is linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

cervicitis (sĕr-vĭ-SĪ-tĭs): Inflammation of the cervix.

cervix (SĔR-viks): Narrow lower portion of the uterus.

cessation (ses-SĀ-shŭn): Stop or stopping.

cheilorrhaphy (kī-LOR-ă-fē): Suturing of the lip.

chemokine (kēm-ō-KĪN): Soluble, long-range, cell-to-cell communication molecule.

chemoreceptors (kē-mō-rē-SEP-tŏr): Cells that sense changes in chemical levels.

chemotaxis (kē-mō-TĂK-sĭs): Movement in response to chemicals; a phenomenon in which injured or infected cells and nearby leukocytes emit the equivalent of a chemical “911” call, attracting more leukocytes to the site.

chlamydia (klă-MID-ē-ă): Sexually transmitted disease caused by a very small parasitic bacterium.

cholangiogram (kō-lăn-jē-Ō-gram): Radiographic image of the bile duct.

cholangiography (kŏ-lan-jē-OG-ră-fē): Radiographic imaging of the bile duct.

cholangioma (kō-lăn-jē-Ō-mă): Tumor of the bile duct.

cholecystectomy (kō-lĕ-sis-TEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the gallbladder to remove stones.

cholecystitis (kō-lĕ-sis-TĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the gallbladder.

choledocholithiasis (kō-LED-ō-kō-lĭ-THĪ-ă-sĭs): Condition of stones in the common bile duct.

choledocholithotomy (kō-LED-ō-kō-lĭ-THŎT-ō-mē): Incision into the common bile duct to remove stones.

cholelithiasis (kō-li-lith-Ī-ă-sĭs): Condition of gallstones.

chondrectomy (kŏn-DRĔK-tō-mē): Excision of cartilage.

chondromalacia (kon-drō-mă-LĀ-sh(ē-)ă): Softening of cartilage.

chondroplasty (KŎN-drō-plăs-tē): Surgical repair of cartilage.

chorioamnionitis (kōr-ē-ō-am-nē-ō-NĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the chorion and amnion.

choriocarcinoma (kōr-ē-ō-kar-sĭn-Ō-mă): Cancerous tumor of the chorion.

choroid plexus (KŌ-royd PLEKS-ŭs): Specialized structure containing ependymal cells that line blood capillaries and filter blood to produce CSF in the four ventricles of the brain.

chorionic villus sampling (KŌRē-onic VĬL-ŭs SAM-pling): A small piece of placenta is taken and tested to determine potential for birth defects.

chronic (KRON-ĭk): A condition the lasts over a long time with periods of exacerbation and periods of remission.

chronic inflammation (KRON-ĭk in-flă-MĀ-shŏn): Inflammation occurring for long periods of time.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Term used to represent a number of respiratory diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

chyle (kīl): Lipid-rich lymph inside the lymphatic capillaries of the small intestine.

cilia (SIL-ē-ă): Tiny hairline processes.

circumcision (sĭr-kŭm-SIZH-ŏn): Surgical removal of the prepuce (foreskin).

cirrhosis (sĭ-RŌ-sĭs): Chronic degenerative disease of the liver.

cisterna chyli (sis-TĔR-nă kī-lĭ): Bag-like vessel that forms the beginning of the thoracic duct.

clavicular (klă-VĬK-ū-lăr): Pertaining to the clavicle.

clubbing of the fingers and toes: Broadening of the nails and exaggerated curvature of the nails.

cochlear (KOK-lē-ăr): Pertaining to the cochlea.

cochlear implant (KOK-lē-ă IM-plant): Pertaining to the cochlear implant.

coitus (KŌ-ĭ-tŭs): Sexual intercourse between male and female.

colectomy (kō-LEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the colon.

colitis (kō-LĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the colon.

colonoscope (kō-LŎN-ō-skōp): Instrument used to view the colon.

colonoscopy (kō-lŏ-NOS-kŏ-pē): Process of viewing the colon.

colorectal (kō-lŏ-REK-tăl): Pertaining to the colon and rectum.

colostomy (kŏ-LOS-tŏ-mē): Creation of an artificial opening in the colon.

colostrum (kŏ-LOS-trŭm): Thin, milky fluid secreted by the breast during pregnancy and the first few days after delivery.

colpocleisis (kol-pō-KLĪ-sĭs): Surgical closure of the vagina.

colpoperineorrhaphy (kol-pō-per-ĭ-nē-OR-ă-fē): Suturing of the vagina and the perineum.

colpoplasty (KŎL-pō-plăs-tē): Surgical repair of the vagina.

colporrhaphy (kol-POR-ă-fē): Suturing of (a tear in) the vagina.

colposcope (KŎL-pō-skōp): Instrument used to view the vulva.

colposcopy (kŏl-PŎS-kō-pē): Process of viewing the vagina.

combining form: A word root with a combining form vowel.

combining form vowel: Vowel that is used to join word parts and to ease pronunciation. The most common combining form vowel is an “o” but sometimes it is an “i” or an “e”.

complement (KOM-plĕ-mĕnt): Enzymatic cascade of constitutive blood proteins that have antipathogen effects, including the direct killing of bacteria.

compliance (kŏm-PLĪ-ăns): The ability of the blood vessels to dilate and constrict as needed.

computerized tomography (CT) (tō-MOG-ră-fē): A special 3-dimensional x-ray.

condom (KON-dŏm): Sheath (cover) for penis worn during coitus to prevent conception and spread of sexually transmitted infection.

conducting zone (KŎN-dŭk-TĬNG zōn): The major functions of the conducting zone are to provide a route for incoming and outgoing air, remove debris and pathogens from the incoming air, and warm and humidify the incoming air. Several structures within the conducting zone perform other functions as well. The epithelium of the nasal passages, for example, is essential to sensing odors, and the bronchial epithelium that lines the lungs can metabolize some airborne carcinogens.

congenital (kŏn-JĔN-ĭ-tăl): Present at birth.

congenital anomaly (kŏn-JĔN-ĭ-tăl ă-NOM-ă-lē): Abnormality present at birth.

conjunctivitis (kŏn-jŭnk-tĭ-VĪT-ĭs) Inflammation of the conjunctiva.

connective tissue membrane (kŏ-NEK-tiv TISH-oo MEM-brān): Tissue membrane formed solely from connective tissue; encapsulates organs and lines movable joints.

contraception (kon-tră-SEP-shŏn): Intentional prevention of conception (pregnancy).

contusion (kŏn-TOO-zhŏn): Bruise.

convex (KŎN-vĕks): Curved outwards.

corneal (KOR-nē-ă): Pertaining to the cornea.

coronary artery bypass graft (KOR-ō-ner-ē ART-ĕ-rē bī-păs graft): In a coronary bypass procedure, a non-vital superficial vessel from another part of the body (often the great saphenous vein) or a synthetic vessel is inserted to create a path around the blocked area of a coronary artery.

coronary heart disease (KOR-ō-ner-ē hart diz-ĒZ′): The blood vessels that supply blood to the myocardium become hardened and narrowed, impairing the delivery of oxygen to the heart muscle.

corpus callosum (KOR-pŭs kă-LŌ-sŭm): Large white matter structure that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres.

corpus cavernosum (KOR-pŭs kă-vĕr-nō-SŎM): Either of two columns of erectile tissue in the penis that fill with blood during an erection.

corpus spongiosum (KOR-pŭs spŭn″jē-ō-SŎM): (Plural = corpora cavernosa) column of erectile tissue in the penis that fills with blood during an erection and surrounds the penile urethra on the ventral portion of the penis.

cortical (KOR-tĭ-kăl): Pertaining to the cortex.

corticoid (KOR-tĭ-koyd): Resembling the cortex.

costectomy (kŏs-TĔK-tō-mē): Excision of rib(s).

costochondral (kŏs-tō-KŎN-drăl): Pertaining to ribs and cartilage.

cranial (KRĀ-nē-ăl): Pertaining to the cranium.

cranial cavity (KRĀ-nē-ăl kah-vi-tē): The space formed inside the skull that the brain occupies.

craniocerebral (krā-nē-ō-sĕr-Ē-brăl): Pertaining to the cranium and cerebrum.

cranioplasty (KRĀ-nē-ō-plăs-tē): Surgical repair of the cranium.

cranioschisis (krā-nē-ŎS-kĭ-sĭs): Fissure of the cranium.

craniotomy (krā-nē-ŎT-ō-mē): Incision into the cranium.

creatine kinase MB (KRĒ-ă-tĭn KĬN-ās): An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of creatine to phosphocreatine, consuming ATP.

Crohn’s disease (krōnz diz-ĒZ′): A type of inflammatory bowel disease.

cryoretinopexy: Surgical fixation of the retina using extreme cold.

cryptorchidism (krip-TOR-kĭd-ĭzm): State of hidden testis.

crypts (kripts): A depression, or pit in an otherwise fairly flat surface.

CT colonography (CT kŏ-lo-NO-gră-fē): Radiographic imaging of the colon using computed tomography.

CT myelography (CT mī-ĕ-LŎG-ră-fē): Process of recording the spinal cord with computed tomography.

cutaneous membrane (kū-TĀ-nē-ŭs MEM-brān): Epithelial membrane; skin.

cyanosis (sī-ă-NŌ-sĭs): Abnormal condition of blue (bluish color, lips and nail beds). Typically caused by low oxygenation.

cyanotic (sī-ăn-ŎT-ĭk): Pertaining to abnormal color of blue (bluish color, lips and nail beds) caused by deoxygenation.

cyst (sist): Closed sac containing fluid or semisolid material.

cystectomy (sĭs-TĔK-tō-mē): Excision of the bladder.

cystitis (sis-TĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the bladder.

cystocele (SIS-tŏ-sēl): Protrusion of the bladder.

cystogram (SĬS-tō-grăm): Radiographic image of the bladder.

cystography (sĭs-TŎG-ră-fē): Radiographic imaging of the bladder.

cystolith (SĬS-tō-lĭth): Stone(s) in the bladder.

cystolithotomy (sĭs-tō-lĭ-THŌ-tō-mē): Incision into the bladder to remove stone(s).

cystorrhaphy (sĭst-OR-ă-fē): Suturing the bladder.

cystoscope (SIST-ŏ-skōp): Instrument used for visual examination of the bladder.

cystostomy (sis-TOT-ŏ-mē): Creation of an artificial opening into the bladder.

cystotomy (sis-TOT-ŏ-mē): Incision into the bladder.

cytokine (SĪT-ŏ-kīn): Soluble, short-range, cell-to-cell communication molecule.


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Medical Terminology Student Companion Copyright © 2022 by Stacey Grimm; Colleen Allee; Heidi Belitz; Traci Gotz; Micheal Randolph; Elaine Strachota; and Laurie Zielinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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