33 P

pacemaker (PĀS-māk-ĕr): An electronic implant that initiates a heart beat.

pachyderma (pak-ē-DĔR-mă): Thickening of the skin.

Pacinian corpuscle (pă-SIN-ē-ăn KOR-pŭs-ĕl): Lamellated corpuscle that responds to vibration.

palatine tonsils (PAL-ă-tīn TON-sĭls): A pair of soft tissue masses located at the rear of the throat (pharynx).

palatitis (pal-ă-TĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the palate.

palatoplasty (PĂL-ăt-ō-plăs-tē): Surgical repair of the palate.

pallor (PĂL-or): Paleness.

palpate (PAL-pāt): Physical examination technique: The examiner feels for texture, size, consistency and location of body parts with hands.

palpitations (păl-pĭ-Tā-shŭn): A feeling in the chest that may be caused by an irregular heart rhythm.

pancreatic (pan-krē-AT-ik): Pertaining to the pancreas.

pancreatitis (pan-krē-a-TĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the pancreas.

pancytopenia (pan-sīt-ŏ-PĒ-nē-ă): Abnormal reduction of (all) blood cells.

panhypopituitarism (pan-hī-pō-pĭ-TOO-ĭt-ă-rizm, -TŪ): State of total deficient pituitary gland activity.

panplegia (păn-PLĒ-jē-ă): Total paralysis.

papanicolaou smear (păp-ă-NĒ-kă-low smēr): PAP test A smear method for examining cells, that is used to detect cancers of the cervix.

para (PĂR-ă): A woman who has given birth to an offspring after 20 weeks, live or stillborn.

paracrine (par-ă-krin): Chemical signal that elicits a response in neighboring cells; also called paracrine factor.

paraplegia (par-ă-PLĒ-j(ē-)ă): Paralysis that affects both legs and lower part of the body.

parathyroidectomy (păr-ă-thī-royd-ĔK-tō-mē): Excision of the parathyroid glands.

parathyroidoma (păr-ă-thī-royd-ō-MĀ): Tumor of the parathyroid glands.

paresis (pă-RĒ-sĭs): Partial paralysis wherein there is still some control of the muscles.

paresthesia (par-es-THĒ-zh(ē-)ă): Abnormal sensation in the extremities.

parietal lobe (pă-RĪ-ĕt-ăl lōb): Region of the cerebral cortex directly beneath the parietal bone of the cranium.

paronychia (păr-ō-NĬK-ē-ă): Diseased state around the nail.

parturition (păr-tū-RĬSH-ŭn): Act of giving birth.

passive immunity (PĂS-ĭv im-Ū-nĭt-ē): Transfer of immunity to a pathogen to an individual that lacks immunity to this pathogen usually by the injection of antibodies.

patellectomy (păt-ĕ-LĔK-tō-mē): Excision of the knee cap.

pathogens (path-Ŏ-jĕns): Disease-causing agents.

pelvic (PEL-vik): Pertaining to pelvis, pelvic bone.

pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Inflammation of some or all of the female pelvic organs.

pelvic sonography (PEL-vik sō-NOG-ră-fē): Process of recording sound pertaining to the pelvis.

pelvisacral (PEL-vĭs-SĀ-krăl): Pertaining to the pelvis and sacrum.

pelviscopic (pĕl-VĬS-kŭ-pĭk): Pertaining to visual examination of the pelvic cavity.

pelviscopy (pĕl-VĬS-kŭ-pē): Visual examination of the pelvic cavity.

penis (PĒ-nēz): Male organ of copulation.

percutaneous (pĕr-kū-TĀ-nē-ŭs): Pertaining to through the skin.

perfusion (pĕr-FŪ-zhŏn): The delivery of blood to an area/tissue/organ.

pericardial fluid (per-ĭ-KAR-dē-ăk FLOO-ĭd): Pericardial fluid is a serous fluid which allow the 2 layers of serous pericardium to slide smoothly against each other as the heart beats.

pericardiocentesis (per-i-kard-ē-ō-sen-TĒ-sĭs): Surgical puncture to aspirate fluid from the (sac) surrounding the heart.

pericarditis (per-ĭ-kar-DĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the (sac) surrounding the heart.

pericardium (per-ĭ-KARD-ē-ŭm): Serous membrane surrounding the heart in the pericardial cavity and reduces friction between the heart and the wall of the pericardium.

perimetritis (per-ĭ-mē-TRĪT-ĭs): Inflammation surrounding the uterus.

perimetrium (per-i-MĒ-trē-ŭm): The most superficial and serous layer of the uterus.

perineorrhaphy (pĕr-ĭ-nē-OR-ă-fē): Suturing of (a tear in) the perineum.

peripheral arterial disease (pĕ-RIF-(ĕ-)răl ar-TĒR-ē-ăl diz-ĒZ′): The obstruction of vessels in peripheral regions of the body.

peripheral nervous system (PNS) (pĕ-RIF-(ĕ-)răl NĔR-vŭs SIS-tĕm): Anatomical division of the nervous system that is largely outside the cranial and vertebral cavities, namely all parts except the brain and spinal cord.

peritoneal (per-ĭt-ŏ-NĒ-ăl): Pertaining to the peritoneum.

peritoneum (per-it-ŏ-NĒ-ŭm): Serous membrane surrounding several organs in the abdominopelvic cavity. This reduces friction between the abdominal and pelvic organs and the body wall.

peritonitis (per-ĭt-ŏ-NĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the peritoneum.

permeability (pĕr-mē-ă-BIL-ĭt-ē): Membrane that causes it to allow liquids or gases to pass through it.

pH (P H): pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is, as determined by the number of free hydrogen ions in the substance.

phacomalacia (făk-ō-mă-LĀ-shē-ă): Softening of the lens.

phagocytes (făg-ō-SĬTS): Cells that engulf and absorb bacteria and cell particles.

phagocytized (FĂG-ō-sīt-īz): This is the process by which certain cells are able to ‘eat’ other cells or substances by engulfing them.

phagocytosis (făg-ō-sī-TŌ-sĭs): Movement of material from the outside to the inside of the cells via vesicles made from invaginations of the plasma membrane.

phalangectomy (făl-ăn-JĔK-tō-mē): Excision of the phalanges.

pharyngeal (far-ĭn-JĒ-ăl): Pertaining to the pharynx.

pharyngeal tonsils (far-ĭn-JĒ-ăl TON-sĭl): A pharyngeal tonsil, also called an adenoid, is an aggregate of lymphoid reticular tissue similar to a lymph node that lies at the superior portion of the nasopharynx.

pharyngitis (far-ĭn-JĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the pharynx.

pharyngotonsillitis (fă-ring-gō-ton-sĭ-LĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the pharynx and tonsils.

pharynx (FAR-ingks): The pharynx is a tube formed by skeletal muscle and lined by mucous membrane that is continuous with that of the nasal cavities.

phimosis (fī-MŌ-sĭs): A tightness of the prepuce (foreskin of the penis) that prevents its retraction over the glans penis. It may be congenital or the result of balanitis. Circumcision is the usual treatment.

phlebectomy (fleb-EK-tŏ-mē): Excision of a vein.

phlebitis (flĕ-BĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of a vein.

phlebotomist (flĕ-BŎT-ō-mĭst): A specially trained person who draws blood or injects IV fluids.

phlebotomy (flĕ-BOT-ŏ-mē): Incision into a vein.

photophobia (fō-tō-FŌ-bē-ă): Sensitivity to light.

phrenospasm (FRĔN-ō-spăzm): Spasm of the diaphragm.

pia mater (PĪ-ă MĀT-ĕr): Thin, innermost membrane of the meninges that directly covers the surface of the CNS.

placenta (plă-SENT-ă): The organ of gas and nutrient exchange between the baby and the mother.

placenta abruptio or abruptio placenta (plă-SENT-ă ă-BRŬP-shē-ō): Occurs when the placenta prematurely becomes detached from the uterine wall. This is a medical emergency and requires an immediate c-section to safe both the woman and infants lives. the infant will not be getting oxygen from the mother and the mother may hemorrhage.

placenta previa (plă-SENT-ă PRĒ-vē-ă): Occurs when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervical os (opening).

plaque (plak): A fatty material including cholesterol, connective tissue, white blood cells, and some smooth muscle cells.

plasma cells (PLAZ-mă sels): A type of B lymphocyte that produces antibodies which bind to specific foreign or abnormal antigens, in order to destroy them.

plasmapheresis (plăz-mă-fĕr-Ē-sĭs): Removal of plasma.

pleura (PLOOR-ă): Serous membrane which surrounds the lungs in the leural cavity and reduces friction between the lungs and the body wall.

pleural effusion (PLOOR-ăl ĕ-FŪ-zhŭn): Fluid in the pleural space (caused by disease or trauma).

pleuritic (ploo-RĬT-ĭk): Pertaining to the pleura.

pleuritis (ploo-RĪ-tĭs): Inflammation of the pleura.

pneumatocele (nū-MĂT-ō-sēl): Hernia of the lung.

pneumoconiosis (noo-mō-kō-nē-Ō-sĭs): Abnormal condition of dust in the lungs.

pneumonectomy (noo-mŏ-NEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the lung.

pneumonia (noo-MŌN-yă): Diseased state of lung.

pneumonitis (noo-mō-NĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the lung.

pneumothorax (noo-mŏ-THŌR-aks): An excessive amount of air is present in the thoracic cavity, outside of the lungs, putting pressure on the lungs and interfering with venous return, pulmonary function, and delivery of oxygen to the tissues.

poliomyelitis (pō-lē-ō-mī-ĕl-ĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of gray matter of the spinal cord.

polyarteritis (pol-ē-art-ĕ-RĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of many (sites in the) arteries.

polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (pŏl-ē-SĬS-tĭk Ō-vă-rē SĬN-drōm): Condition typically characterized by hormonal imbalances, ovulatory dysfunction, and multiple ovarian cysts.

polycythemia (POL-ē-sī-THĒ-mē-ă): A disorder in which too many red blood cells are produced.

polycythemia vera (pol-ē-sī-THĒ-mē-ă vĕr-ă): A type of bone marrow disease that causes an excessive production of immature erythrocytes.

polydipsia (pol-ē-DIP-sē-ă): Condition of excessive thirst.

polyhydramnios (pŏl-ē-hī-DRĂM-nē-ŏs): A condition where there is excessive amniotic fluid in the placenta. The delivery will be a c-section to prevent bleeding during delivery of the fetus.

polymenorrhea (pŏl-ē-mĕn-ō-RĒ-ă): Excessive bleeding during one’s period.

polymyositis (pol-ē-mī-ŏ-SĪ-tĭs): Inflammation of many muscles.

polyneuritis (pol-ē-noo-RĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of many nerves.

polyneuropathy (pol-ē-noo-ROP-ă-thē): Disease of many nerves.

polyp (POL-ĭp): Small tumor like growth that extend from the surface of a mucous membrane.

polypectomy (pŏl-ĭ-PĔK-tō-mē): Excision of polyps.

polyposis (pŏl-ē-PŌ-sĭs): Abnormal condition of (multiple) polyps.

polysomnography (PSG) (pol-ē-som-NOG-ră-fē): Process of recording many (test) during sleep.

polyuria (pol-ē-ŪR-ē-ă): Excessive urine.

pons (ponz): Latin word meaning bridge, essential part of the brain located above the medulla, action in regulation and controls of vital functions primarily sleep, respiration, swallowing, bladder control, hearing, balance (equilibrium), taste, ocular movement, facial expression and sensation.

posterior (or dorsal) (pŏs-TĒ-rē-or): Describes the back or direction toward the back of the body.

posteriorly (pŏs-TĒ-rē-or-lē): Pertaining to behind.

postictal (post-IK-tăl): Occurs after a seizure or attack.

postnatal (post-NĀT-ăl): Pertaining to after birth (reference to the newborn).

postpartum (pōst-PART-ŭm): After childbirth referring to the mother.

preeclampsia (prē-ĕ-KLAMP-sē-ă): The abnormal condition in pregnancy where the patient experiences hypertension, edema and proteinuria.

prefix: Word part at the beginning of a medical term that changes the meaning of the word root.

preictal (prē-ĬK-tăl): Occurs before a seizure or attack.

premature infant (prē-mă-CHŪR IN-fănt): Infant born before completing 37 weeks of gestation (also called preterm infant).

premenstrual syndrome (prē-MĔN-stroo-ăl SĬN-drōm): Syndrome involving physical and emotional symptoms occurring up to 10 days before menstruation. Symptoms include nervous tension, irritability, mastalgia, edema, and headache.

prenatal (prē-NĀT-ăl): Pertaining to before birth.

prepuce (PRĒ-pūs): Flap of skin that forms a collar around, and thus protects and lubricates, the glans penis.

presbycusis (prez-bĭ-KŪ-sĭs): Hearing impairment occurring with age

priapism (PRĪ-ă-pizm): Persistant, abnormal erection of the penis accompanied by pain and tenderness.

primary adaptive response (PRĪ-mă-rē ad-ap-TĬV ri-SPONS): Immune system’s response to the first exposure to a pathogen.

primary lymphoid organ (PRĪ-mă-rē LIM-foyd OR-găn): Site where lymphocytes mature and proliferate, red bone marrow and thymus gland.

primigravida (prī-mĭ-GRAV-ĭd-ă): First pregnancy.

primipara (prī-MĬP-ă-ră): First birth.

process (PROS-es): In cells, an extension of a cell body; in the case of neurons, this includes the axon and dendrites.

proctologist (prok-TOL-ŏ-jĭst): Specialist who studies and treats diseases of the rectum.

proctology (prŏk-TŎL-ō-jē): Study of disease and disorders of the rectum.

proctoptosis (prŏk-tŏp-TŌ-sĭs): Prolapse of the rectum.

proctoscope (PRŎK-tă-skōp): Instrument used to view the rectum.

proctoscopy (prŏk-TŎS-kō-pē): Process of viewing the rectum.

prolapse (PRŌ-laps): Displacement of an organ or anatomic structure from its normal position.

proliferate (prŏ-LIF-ĕ-rāt): Reproduce rapidly.

proliferation (prŏ-lif-ĕ-RĀ-shŏn): Rapid increase in numbers.

proprioception (prō-prē-ō-SĔP-shŭn): Awareness of the position of the body in space

prostaglandins (prŏs-tă-GLĂN-dĭn): Any of a group of compounds with varying hormone-like effects.

prostate cancer (PROS-tāt KAN-sĕr): Cancer of the prostate gland.

prostate gland (PROS-tāt gland): Doughnut-shaped gland at the base of the bladder surrounding the urethra and contributing fluid to semen during ejaculation.

prostatitis (pros-tă-TĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the prostate gland.

prostatocystitis (pros-tă-tō-sĭs-TĪ-tĭs): Inflammation of the prostate gland and urinary bladder.

prostatolith (prŏs-TĂT-ō-lĭth): Stone(s) in the prostate gland.

prostatolithotomy (prŏs-tăt-ō-lĭ-THŎT-ō-mē): Incision into the prostate gland to remove stones.

prostatorrhea (pros-tă-tō-RĒ-ă): Discharge from the prostate gland.

prostatovesiculitis (pros-tă-tō-vē-sĭk-ū-LĪ-tĭs): Inflammation of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles.

proximal (PROK-sĭ-măl): Describes a position in a limb that is nearer to the point of attachment or the trunk of the body.

pruritus (proo-RĪT-ŭs): Itching.

pseudocyesis (soo-dō-sī-Ē-sĭs): False pregnancy.

pseudophakia (SOOD-ō-FĀ-kē-a): Condition of fake lens.

pseudostratified (soo-dō-STRĂT-ĭ-fīd): Consisting of closely packed cells which appear to be arranged in layers.

psoriasis (sŏ-RĪ-ă-sĭs): Chronic autoimmune disorder that results in patches of thick red skin with the appearance of silvery scales.

psychiatrist (sī-KĪ-ă-trĭst): Physician who studies and treats disorders of the mind.

psychiatry (sī-KĪ-ă-trē): Specialist of the mind.

psychogenic (sī-kŏ-JEN-ik): Originating in the mind.

psychologist (sī-KŎL-ō-jĭst): Specialist of the mind.

psychology (sī-KOL-ŏ-jē): Study of the mind.

psychopathy (sī-KŎP-ă-thē): Disease of the mind.

psychosis (sī-KŌ-sĭs): Abnormal condition of the mind.

psychosomatic (sī-kō-sō-MĂT-ĭk): Pertaining to the mind and body.

puberty (PŪ-bĕrt-ē): The period during which adolescents develop secondary sex characteristics and become capable of reproduction.

pubic (PŪ-bĭk): Pertaining to pubis.

pubofemoral (pū-bō-FĔM-or-ăl): Pertaining to pubic bone and femur.

puerpera (pū-ĔR-pĕ-ră): Childbirth.

puerperal (pū-ĔR-pĕ-răl): Pertaining to immediately after childbirth.

puerperium (pū-ĕr-PĒ-rē-ŭm): Period from delivery until the reproductive organs return to normal (approximately six weeks).

pulmonary (PŬL-mō-nĕ-rē ): Pertaining to the lung(s).

pulmonary artery (PŬL-mō-nĕ-rē ART-ĕ-rē): The pulmonary artery is the artery that arises from the pulmonary trunk.

pulmonary edema (PŬL-mō-nĕ-rē ĕ-DĒ-mă): Fluid accumulation in alveoli and bronchioles (related to heart failure).

pulmonary embolism (PE) (PŬL-mō-nĕ-rē EM-bŏ-liĭzm): A piece of a blood clot or other substance has broken free from its original location and traveled through the bloodstream to lodge in a smaller vessel in the lungs. This causes an obstruction in that vessel and hypoxia to the tissues supplied by that vessel.

pulmonary trunk (PŬL-mō-nĕ-rē trŭnk): Very large artery referred to as a trunk, a term indicating that the vessel gives rise to several smaller arteries.

pupillary (PŪ-pĭ-lĕr-ē): Pertaining to pupil.

pupillometer (pū-pĭl-ŎM-ĕ-tĕr): Instrument used to measure the pupil.

pupilloscope (pū-pĭl-ŎS-kōp): Instrument used to view the pupil.

pustule (PŬS-tūl): Small elevation of the skin containing fluid.

pyelitis (pī-ĕ-LĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the renal pelvis.

pyelolithotomy (pī-ĕ-lō-lĭth-ŎT-ō-mē): Incision into the renal pelvis.

pyelonephritis (pī-ĕ-lō-nĕ-FRĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the renal pelvis and the kidney.

pyeloplasty (PĪ-ĕ-lō-plăs-tē): Surgical repair of the renal pelvis.

pyloric sphincter (pī-LOR-ĭk SFINGK-tĕr): A band of smooth muscle at the junction between the pylorus of the stomach and the duodenum of the small intestine.

pyloric stenosis (pī-LOR-ĭk stĕ-NŌ-sĭs): Narrowing of the pylorus or pyloric sphincter.

pyloromyotomy (pī-lor-ō-mī-OT-ŏ-mē): Incision into the pyloric muscle (used to correct pyloric stenosis).

pyloroplasty (pī-LŌR-ŏ-plas-tē): Surgical repair of the pylorus.

pyosalpinx (pī-ō-SĂL-pĭnks): Pus in the uterine/fallopian tube.

pyothorax (pī-ō-THŌ-răks): Pus in the chest cavity.

pyuria (pī-ŪR-ē-ă): Pus in the urine


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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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