Radiology Terminology

Deciphering Radiology One Term at a Time

Radiology Glossary

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There are currently 559 names in this directory
abdominal aorta
The portion of the largest artery in the body that runs through the abdomen; it supplies oxygenated blood to the abdominal and pelvic organs and the legs.
abscess
A localized infection consisting of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.
absorption
1. In radiology, the uptake of energy from radiation by the tissue or medium through which it passes. 2. In radiation or medical physics, the number of disintegrations per second of a radionuclide.
acute
Referring to the rapid onset of a disease or condition.
adrenal glands
Small glands that sit atop each kidney and produce hormones important in regulating metabolism, blood pressure and response to stress.
allergy
A hypersensitive reaction to common, often harmless substances, most of which are found in the environment.
allograft
Tissue graft from a separate donor.
amniocentesis
The suction of fluid from the amniotic sac through the use of a needle inserted through the abdomen.
amniotic sac
Membrane filled with fluid within the abdomen that holds the embryo/fetus.
analgesic
A drug that relieves pain.
androgen
A group of hormones produced by both men and women. They are present in much higher levels in men and govern the growth and development of the male reproductive system. In women, they are converted to hormones called estrogens.
anesthesia
Drugs used to induce loss of sensation for the patient in preparation for operative procedures.
anesthetics
Drugs used to induce loss of sensation for the patient in preparation for operative procedures.
aneurysm
A ballooning out of a segment of blood vessel caused by disease or weakness in the vessel wall. It may lead to rupture and serious or fatal bleeding.
angiocardiography
X-ray imaging of the heart, coronary arteries and/or great vessels made visible by injection of a dye directly into the vessel via a catheter. In other instances, CT or MRI can be used to create three-dimensional pictures of blood vessels.
angiogenesis
Formation of new blood vessels.
angiogenesis inhibitors
Drugs that interfere with the growth of blood vessels in the tumor, thus starving the tumor of the nutrients and oxygen it needs to grow. Also called angiostatic therapy.
angiogram
In a conventional angiogram, a dye is injected into the bloodstream and x-rays are taken to visualize the blood vessels. In other instances, CT or MRI can be used to create three-dimensional pictures of blood vessels.
anonymization
The process of removing all indentifiers or codes that directly or indirectly link a sample or data to a specific identifiable person.
anterior fibromuscular stroma
The anterior surface of the prostate.
antibiotics
A class of medications used to treat bacterial infections by killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
antibodies
Substances that neutralize body toxins and bacteria.
anticoagulant therapy
The use of anticoagulant drugs (blood-thinners) to treat blood clots, including those due to pulmonary embolism and deep venous thrombosis in the calf.
antiplatelet drug
A medication that interferes with the normal function of blood platelets and thereby reduces the tendency for blood to clot; commonly called a blood thinner.
aorta
The largest artery in the body; it distributes blood from the heart to the entire body via the circulatory system.
appendiceal lumen
Inside of the appendix where mucus, created by the appendix, travels and empties into the large intestines.
appendicolith
A stone, calcification or calcific deposit in the appendix.
appendix
A wormlike "pouch" several inches long located near the beginning of the large intestine, in the lower right portion of the abdomen. At this time, the role the appendix plays in the human body is not known.
arrhythmia
An abnormal rhythm of the heart.
arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
1. An abnormal connection between arteries and veins that allows blood flow to bypass the small vessels where oxygen and tissue nutrients are exchanged. These unusual malformations may be present at birth or may result from injury or infection. They are often found in the brain and spinal cord, but may occur anywhere in the body. 2. A tangle of dilated blood vessels that disrupts normal blood flow in the brain.
artery
Vessels that carry blood away from the heart.
artifact
In radiology, something artificial that appears on a medical image but is not a part of the living tissue being examined. The image distortion could be due to an obstruction, such as a surgical metal clip, or to a problem with the imaging equipment.
aspirin
A member of the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAID) that reduces pain, fever, inflammation, and blood clotting.
asthma
A condition of the lungs characterized by a narrowing of the airways and excessive mucus; can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing.
atrophy
A wasting away or gradual decline of tissues, organs, or the entire body.
attenuation
Loss of energy of a beam of radiant energy due to absorption, scattering, beam divergence, and other causes as the beam propagates through a medium.
audit
An information system log that keeps a record of all user activity by user identification.
authentication
Verifying the identity of a person/user to a computer system or assuring that a computer program is a trusted one.
authorization
Access controls that restrict access to a system to only authorized users; access control assigns right and privileges of users to resources via single sign-on databases; auto logoff to prevent someone other than the valid user from continuing a session; physical access control for critical computers to prevent console-based malicious attacks, power interruptions or other threats to security of the systems.
automatic spring-loaded needle
Also called core needle. A spring-loaded device that cuts and retrieves a small tissue specimen in its collecting chamber. It is used for biopsy of many different organs in the body.
axillary lymph nodes
Numerous nodes around the axillary (below the shoulder joint) veins which receive the lymphatic drainage from the upper limb, scapular region and pectoral region (including mammary gland); they drain into the subclavian trunk.
B cell
A type of white blood cell (called a lymphocyte) that is an essential component of the immune system. Non Hodgkin B cell lymphoma begins in B cells.
balloon assistance
A vascular treatment technique that uses catheter-guided balloons to open narrowed blood vessels.
barium (Ba)
A naturally occurring metal that is used in barium sulfate, a contrast material. Barium is most commonly used for studying the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
baseline
Initial.
benign
Not cancerous. May also be defined as non-malignant. Benign is also used to describe medical conditions that have a mild course.
beta blocker
A type of medicine used to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain and heart failure, and to prevent a heart attack.
biliary atresia
A condition present at birth in which there is a blockage in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder.
biologic therapy
Also called biotherapy. A treatment that involves natural or laboratory-made substances designed to boost, direct or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer.
biometrics
Biometrics requires a user to provide a unique identifier, such as a fingerprint or voice sample, which is compared to a stored record before the user can gain access to the computer.
biopsy
1. Process of removing tissue from living patients for diagnostic examination. 2. A specimen obtained by biopsy.
biotherapy
Also called biologic therapy. A treatment that involves natural or laboratory-made substances designed to boost, direct or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer.
bladder
A balloon-like organ where urine is stored before being passed from the body.
bleeding disorder
A condition in which the body's blood clotting mechanism, which turns blood from a free-flowing liquid to a thickened state, is defective.
blood coagulation
Also called blood clotting. A process in which blood changes from a free-flowing liquid to a semi-solid gel.
blood oxygenation
The level of oxygen in the blood.
bone marrow
The soft tissue that fills the cavities of bones in which blood cells are produced.
bore
The center of the cylindrical shaped magnet (often referred to as a doughnut) within an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.
bowel
The part of the digestive system distal to the stomach, consisting of the small and large intestines, that digest and eliminate food.
brain herniation
An often fatal condition that results when brain tissue, fluid or blood vessels are pushed outside the skull.
brain mapping
A medical imaging study of the brain's surface using small electrodes to stimulate a nerve so its electrical response can be measured. By determining the role of specific nerves in a patient, this technique helps surgeons avoid damage to sensitive areas while operating on the brain.
BRCA1 and BRCA 2
Human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. A mutation of these genes has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
breast coil
A wire coil placed around the breast that sends and receives radio waves within the magnetic field of an MRI unit to create images.
breast density
A measure of the proportions of fat, connective tissue and breast tissue within the breast. A dense breast has a greater amount of ducts, glands, fibrous tissue and less fat. When mammography is performed, many cancers can be difficult to see in patients with dense breast.
bronchi
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.
bronchial tubes
Tubes that carry air from the windpipe into the lungs.
bronchiectasis
A dilation (widening) of the bronchi (the "breathing tubes"), often caused by infection. Serious complications may occur, and some patients require surgical removal of the affected part of the lungs.
bronchitis
Inflammation (swelling) of the mucous membrane of the two subdivisions of the trachea (air tube) that conveys air to and from the lungs.
bronchoscope
An instrument used to examine the trachea and bronchi.
bronchoscopy
Visual inspection of the inside of the trachea and the bronchial passages of the lungs, using a rigid or flexible tube or catheter called a bronchoscope.
bruit
An abnormal sound heard when listening with a stethoscope over an organ or blood vessel such as the carotid artery in the neck.
Budd-Chiari syndrome
A blockage of one or more hepatic veins, which carry blood from the liver back toward the heart.
bursa, pl. bursae
A closed sac or envelope lined with a membrane and containing lubricating fluid, usually found or formed in areas subject to friction; e.g., over an exposed or prominent part or where a tendon passes over a bone.
C-arm
An x-ray image intensifier.
CA-125
A blood test used to measure levels of a protein that is found in greater concentrations in tumor cells.
calcification
The process by which noncellular material in the body becomes hardened due to deposits of calcium and other materials.
carcinoembryonic antigen
A protein normally found in the tissue of developing babies, but can also be produced by certain types of cancers in adults.
cardiac pacemaker
An electrical device, often implanted, that maintains a normal heart rhythm by stimulating the heart muscle.
cardiologist
A physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
carotid artery
One of the two major arteries running through either side of the neck, which supply blood to the brain.
cathartic
A substance that causes evacuation of the bowel.
catheter
1. A tubular instrument to allow passage of fluid from or into a body cavity. It is often used to drain abscesses. 2. A tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to drain it of retained urine. 3. A flexible, hollow plastic or rubber tube that may be passed into a blood vessel to withdraw fluids or inject medicine or contrast materials.
cecum
A saclike pouch connecting to the point where the small and large intestines join.
celiac disease
Also known as gluten intolerance. A condition in which sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) may cause pain, diarrhea, inflammation and damage to the small intestine, and inability to absorb certain vitamins.
cephalometric
The measurement of the head.
cerebral
Relating to the brain.
cerebrospinal fluid
Fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and helps to cushion and protect them.
chemotherapy
Treatment of disease by means of chemical substances or drugs; usually used in reference to neoplastic (cancer) disease.
Chiari malformation
A condition in which brain tissue involving the part of the brain called the cerebellum protrudes into the spinal canal.
claudication
Pain, fatigue and cramping in the legs brought on by walking that goes away when at rest.
claustrophobic
A morbid fear of being in a confined place.
closed bone biopsy
Also called needle bone biopsy. An image-guided procedure in which a needle is used to remove a small sample of bone from the body to be examined under a microscope.
clot
To coagulate or turn from a free-flowing liquid to a thickened or semi-solid state.
cluster headache
Headaches that occur in groups, or clusters, over a period of several weeks or months separated by headache-free periods of months or years. Cluster headaches include sharp, penetrating pain around or behind one eye, watering of the eye and a stuffy nose.
CNS prophylaxis
Chemotherapy or radiation therapy that is delivered to the central nervous system (CNS) by means of a lumbar puncture as preventive cancer treatment. Also referred to as central nervous system (CNS) sanctuary therapy.
coagulate
To change from a liquid to a thickened or solid state. Blood that does not flow smoothly through a vessel can coagulate or clot by turning from a free-flowing liquid to a semi-solid gel.
cobalt (Co)
A steel-gray metallic element, atomic no. 27, atomic wt. 58.93320; a bioelement and a constituent of vitamin B12; certain of its compounds are pigments, e.g., cobalt blue.
collodion
A liquid that, on evaporation, leaves a protective film over cuts.
colostomy
Establishment of an artificial opening into the colon.
coma
A state of deep unconsciousness that lasts for a prolonged or indefinite period, caused by severe injury or illness.
computed tomography (CT) angiography
A method of examining blood vessels utilizing x-rays and injection of iodine-rich contrast material (dye).
computer-aided detection (CAD)
CAD is computer software that is used to highlight suspicious features on an image and bring them to the attention of the radiologist.
concussion
Also known as mild traumatic brain injury. An injury to the brain that occurs when the head or body is struck hard enough that the brain bounces against the skull.
congenital
Existing at birth.
congenital heart disease
A heart problem that has existed since birth.
congestive heart failure
A condition in which the heart cannot adequately pump blood forward, leading to a back-up of blood in vessels and an accumulation of fluid in body tissues including the lungs.
constipation
A condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or incomplete.
contusion
A bruise resulting from trauma in which blood seeps into surrounding tissue.
core needle biopsy
A type of biopsy in which a large hollow needle is inserted through the skin to the site of an abnormal growth to collect and remove a sample of cells for analysis. This procedure uses an automated needle, which obtains one sample of tissue at a time and is re-inserted several times.
coronary arteries
The arteries that supply freshly oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.
coronary artery bypass graft surgery
This surgery increases blood flow to the heart by using a vein, or an artery from elsewhere in the body, and using it to divert blood around the area of narrowing or blockage in the coronary arteries of the heart.
coronary artery disease
A condition involving the narrowing of the coronary arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.
Cowden syndrome
A disorder characterized by non-cancerous, tumor-like growths and an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
cranial
Related to the bony skull known as the cranium that holds the brain.
craniofacial
Relating to the face and the cranium (skull that protects the brain).
cryoprobe
An instrument used to apply extreme cold to a selected anatomic area.
CT enteroclysis
CT enteroclysis is a special type of computed tomography (CT) imaging that produces detailed images of the small bowel by infusing contrast material through a tube positioned in the upper small bowel.
cyanosis
A blue coloration in the lips, skin and fingernails as a result of reduced oxygen levels in the blood.
cyclotron
A type of particle accelerator in which charged particles are propelled by an alternating electric field between two large electrodes in a constant magnetic field created by two large magnets. The particles are injected at the center of the magnet and spiral outward as their energy increases. Protons produced in a cyclotron can be used to treat cancer, and cyclotron-produced protons can create radioisotopes for nuclear medical procedures.
cystic fibrosis
An inherited disease in which the lungs, intestines and pancreas become clogged with thick mucus, interfering with normal digestion and breathing.
cystoscopy
This procedure uses a special camera at the end of a tube that allows the doctor to see inside the bladder.
cysts
Abnormal sacs containing gas, fluid, or a semisolid material, with a membranous lining.
defibrillator
Also called implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD). A pacemaker-like device that continuously monitors the heart rhythm and delivers lifesaving shocks if a dangerous heart rhythm is detected.
definitive treatment
Primary treatment designed to provide a disease cure.
density
Thickness or mass.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
Acid found in cell nuclei that is the basis of heredity.
dialysis
A method of removing waste materials from the body when the kidneys are not working properly.
diaphragm
1. A plate-like muscular structure that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity. 2. The dividing membrane between the chest and abdominal cavity.
diaphragmatic hiatus
An abnormal opening in the diaphragm.
diarrhea
An abnormally frequent discharge of semisolid or fluid fecal matter from the bowel.
dietitians
Dietitians work with patients to help maintain nutrition. They monitor patients' weight and nutritional problems. Dietitians educate patients and may provide them with recipes and nutritional supplements to improve their nutritional status before, during and after treatment. Dietitians attend four years of college then usually take part in a one-year internship. The American Dietetic Association registers dietitians who have passed a professional examination.
digital certificate
A special secure data file that accompanies an electronic message to verify the identity of the user sending the message, and enabling the user to encrypt the message so that it can only be read by its intended recipient.
digital rectal exam
An examination of the lower rectum and the prostate gland in males to check for abnormalities. The term "digital" refers to the clinician's use of a lubricated finger to conduct the exam.
dilator
A device or substance used to enlarge a hollow structure or opening.
dissection
A tear in the wall of a blood vessel that allows blood under pressure to flow between the layers of the wall, making the tear worse.
diverticulum
A pouch or a pocket-like opening in the bowel wall, usually in the colon. You might think of it as a "bubble" through a weak point in the bowel wall.
dosimetrists
Dosimetrists carefully calculate the dose of radiation to make sure the tumor gets enough radiation. They develop a number of treatment plans that can best destroy the tumor while sparing the normal tissues. Many of these treatment plans are very complex. Dosimetrists work with the doctor and the medical physicist to choose the treatment plan that is just right for each patient. Many dosimetrists start as radiation therapists, then, with very intensive training, become dosimetrists. Others are graduates of one-to-two-year dosimetry programs. The Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board certifies dosimetrists.
ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
A breast cancer that has not spread beyond the lining (epithelium) of the milk ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. While DCIS must be treated to prevent it from developing into an invasive breast cancer, it is not harmful at this stage.
dysphagia
Impaired swallowing.
echocardiogram
This test uses a small transducer that produces high-frequency sound waves, which create detailed images of the heart.
edema
An accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or serous cavities.
electrocardiogram
Also called EKG or ECG. A test that records the electrical activity of the heart; it is used to help diagnose certain heart abnormalities.
electromagnetic radiation
Radiation consisting of electric and magnetic waves that travel at the speed of light, such as light, radio waves, gamma rays and x-rays.
electronic detector
The part of a digital imaging system that captures and converts x-rays as they pass through a patient into digital signals which are in turn sent to a computer to produce images.
electronic media
Storage media in PCs and removable/transportable digital media such as magnetic tapes or disks, CDs, pen, flash drives, optical disks, or digital memory cards; or transmission media such as the intranet, dial-up lines, and/or private networks.
electronic medical information
Patient information, including radiological images, lab test results, medications, clinical history, etc., stored on electronic media.
embolic agent
A material used to block off blood flow through a vessel.
embolization
The movement of a blood clot, piece of tissue, or pocket of air or gas from where it forms through the bloodstream until it lodges in place, cutting off the flow of blood with its oxygen and tissue nutrients. Catheter embolization is the deliberate introduction of foreign ("embolic") material such as gelatin sponge or metal coils to stop bleeding or cut off blood flowing to a tumor or arteriovenous malformation.
embolus, pl. emboli
A plug, composed of a detached blood clot, mass of bacteria or other tissue, air or other foreign body, completely or partially blocking a vessel.
embryo
In humans, the developing organism from conception until approximately the end of the second month; developmental stages from this time to birth are commonly designated as fetal.
empyema
An abscess or infection in the space between the lung and the chest wall (pleural space).
encephalitis
An acute inflammation of the brain caused by a viral infection.
encephalography
Radiographic representation of the brain.
encephalopathy
An alteration of normal brain function that can lead to confusion.
encryption
The process of transforming or coding information to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge or the key to decrypt the data.
endocrine gland
1. A gland that produces and secretes hormones into the blood or lymph nodes, exerting powerful effects on specific tissues throughout the body. 2. An organ consisting of specialized cells that produces and sends hormones into the bloodstream, affecting various processes throughout the body.
endoluminal
Referring to the inside.
endometrium
The mucous membrane that forms the inner layer of the uterine wall; the thickness of the endometrium undergoes marked changes with the menstrual cycle.
endorectal MRI
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed from the inside of the rectum.
endoscope
An illuminated optical instrument used to examine inside the body.
endoscopy
The use of an illuminated optical instrument to visualize the interior of the body and its organs.
endovaginal
Within the vagina (the genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva).
endovaginal ultrasonography
Pelvic ultrasonography using a probe inserted into the vagina.
endovenous
Within the vein.
enzyme
A protein that regulates chemical changes in other substances.
epidural analgesia
Injection of a local anesthetic into the epidural space of the spine to prevent or eliminate pelvic pain.
esophagitis
Inflammation of the esophagus, the tube-like structure connecting the throat with the stomach.
esophagoscope
A long, narrow tube with a light and lens that is used for examining the throat and esophagus.
esophagus
The "food tube" which connects the mouth to the stomach.
excisional biopsy
A type of surgical biopsy in which an entire lesion or abnormal group of cells and tissue as well as a surrounding margin of normal-appearing tissue are removed.
false negative test result
A test result that indicates a disease is not present, when in fact it is present.
fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
A test that checks for hidden blood in fecal material (stool).
fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
A test that checks for hidden blood in fecal material (stool).
femoral artery
A major artery that supplies blood to the lower extremity.
ferro-
Prefix designating the presence of metallic iron.
ferromagnetic
The presence of metallic iron or of the divalent ion Fe2+ that possesses magnetism.
fetus
In humans, the product of conception from the end of the eighth week to the moment of birth.
fibroadenoma
A benign tumor usually occurring in breast tissue.
fibrocartilaginous
Composed of fibrocartilage, the fibers that appear between tendons, ligaments or bones.
fibrocystic
A common and benign (non-cancerous) condition of cysts in the breast, characterized by lumpiness and sometimes discomfort.
fibroid
Resembling or composed of fibers or fibrous tissue.
fine needle aspiration
A type of biopsy in which a small needle is inserted through the skin to the site of an abnormal growth to collect and remove a sample of cells for analysis.
firewall
A program or hardware device that filters information coming through an Internet connection into a computer system. If the incoming information packet is flagged by the filters it is not allowed through.
fissure
A groove or tear.
fistula
An abnormal connection or false passageway between the body's organs and or blood vessels.
fluoroscope
A device that projects radiographic (x-ray) images in a movie-like sequence onto a screen monitor.
fluoroscopy
A form of real-time x-ray that employs a fluoroscope to examine the tissues and deep structures within the body.
Foley catheter
A flexible plastic tube (a catheter) inserted into the bladder to provide continuous urinary drainage.
fontanelle
The incompletely formed gap between bones of a skull in a fetus or an infant, also known as a soft spot.
fractionation
The process of administering a dose of radiation in smaller units over time, as opposed to a single large dose, to minimize tissue damage.
fracture
A partial or complete break in a bone.
gamma camera
A camera that records the distribution of radiation emitted from a chemical containing a radionuclide that is attracted to a specific organ or tissue of interest.
gamma radiation
(Also called gamma rays.) A very high frequency form of electromagnetic radiation that consists of photons emitted by radioactive elements. Gamma rays can injure and destroy body cells and tissue, especially cell nuclei.
gangrene
Necrosis (death of one or more cells, or of a portion of tissue or organ) due to obstruction, loss, or diminution of blood supply; it may be localized to a small area or involve an entire extremity or organ (such as the bowel), and may be wet or dry.
gastroesophageal junction
The point at which the esophagus and the stomach join.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
A condition in which stomach acid leaks into the esophagus. Heartburn is the most common symptom. Left untreated, the disease can cause changes to the tissue lining the esophagus and increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
gastrointestinal (GI)
Relating to the stomach and intestines.
gastropathy
A disease or any condition that affects the stomach.
gastrostomy
Establishment of a new opening into the stomach.
gating
The use of an electronic signal from the pumping of the heart to obtain images of heart contractions.
gene therapy
Treatment based on alteration of genetic material.
genetic marker
A specific gene or other identifiable portion of DNA that can be used to identify an individual disease or trait.
genetically engineered tumor vaccines
A DNA molecule that is broken into fragments and then rearranged to create an altered microorganism that when administered, induces immunity.
gland
A group of cells that secrete a substance needed by the body.
glial cells
The most abundant cell type in the central nervous system; glial cells surround and support neurons.
goiter
An enlarged thyroid gland, usually evident as a pronounced swelling in the neck.
graft
1. Any free (unattached) tissue or organ for transplantation. 2. To transplant an organ or unattached tissue. 3. An artificial blood vessel connection used to facilitate kidney dialysis.
Graves' disease
A condition, also called hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than the body needs. Symptoms include an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure.
gray (Gy)
A unit of absorbed radiation equal to the dose of one joule of energy absorbed per kilogram of matter, or 100 rad. The unit is named for the British physician L. Harold Gray (1905-1965), an authority on the use of radiation in the treatment of cancer.
great saphenous vein
The longest vein in the body extending from the foot up the inner thigh to the groin.
gynecologist
A physician who specializes in functions and conditions of the female reproductive system.
hemangiomas
Raised birthmarks that consist of a clump of blood vessels that did not grow normally. They are often found on the face in many sizes and shapes and are usually blue, red, or purple.
hematoma
A collection of blood formed when small blood vessels are damaged, causing bleeding into the tissues.
hemodialysis
A procedure often required at regular intervals by patients whose kidneys no longer are able to remove waste materials from the blood. A machine performs this function instead and the cleansed blood then is returned to the patient.
hemoglobin
The iron-rich protein that carries oxygen inside the red blood cells and gives blood its red color.
hemorrhage
The flow of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.
hemorrhagic stroke
A stroke in which blood flow to part of the brain is interrupted as a result of a ruptured blood vessel.
heparin
A drug that thins the blood and helps to prevent abnormal blood clotting.
hepatic vein
There are three hepatic veins: the right, middle, and left hepatic veins drain blood from the liver back toward the heart.
hepatobiliary system
The liver, gall bladder and bile ducts. The liver produces and secretes bile which is stored in the gallbladder and released through tubular passageways called bile ducts into the bowel to help digest fat and carry away waste.
hepatocellular carcinoma
The most common type of primary liver cancer that starts in the main cells of the liver.
hepatoma
Short for hepatocellular carcinoma. The most common type of primary liver cancer that originates from the main cells of the liver.
hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
A hereditary condition associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.
hereditary disorders
Medical conditions that are passed on genetically from parent to child.
herniated disk
Protrusion of a degenerated or fragmented vertebral disk with potential compression of nerves in the spine.
hiatal hernia
An abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm.
HIPAA security standards
The Federal Government's requirements for handling electronic media and protected health information. The standards address the following: 1. Ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of all electronic protected health information (ePHI) created, received, maintained, or transmitted by a healthcare entity. 2. Protecting against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to security or integrity of ePHI. 3. Protecting against any reasonably anticipated uses or disclosures of ePHI that are not permitted or required for the care of the patient. 4. Ensuring compliance by the workforce.
hives
Confined, short-term elevation or irregular fluid-filled spot on the skin, slightly reddened, often changing in size and shape and extending to adjacent areas. Hives suddenly erupt and are usually accompanied by intense itching; usually produced by exposure to allergenic substances in susceptible persons.
hormone
A complex chemical substance produced in one part or organ of the body that sets the pace for the activity of an organ or group of cells in another part of the body.
hospice
A family-centered system of care that attempts to keep chronically ill and terminal patients as comfortable and active as possible.
human papilloma virus (HPV)
A collection of infectious viruses that are spread through intercourse. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD).
hydrocephalus
A condition marked by an excessive accumulation of fluid resulting in enlarging of the brain cavities and raised pressure within the skull; may also result in enlargement of the skull and wasting of the brain.
hyperfractionation
The process of administering a dose of radiation in smaller units two to three times a day, as opposed to a larger amount once a day.
hyperparathyroidism
An excessive hormone production by the parathyroid gland(s).
hyperthyroidism
A condition, also called Graves' disease, in which the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than the body needs. Symptoms include an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure.
hypothyroidism
A condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone for the body's needs. Symptoms include weight gain, energy loss, and dry skin.
hysterosalpingography
An x-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes performed after the injection of a contrast material.
ibuprofen
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) available over-the-counter.
ileostomy
A surgical procedure to attach the ileum (a portion of the small intestine) to an opening made in the abdomen.
ileum
The third portion of the small intestine.
image-guided biopsy
The use of imaging modalities, such as ultrasound, CT, x-ray or MRI, to assist in targeting a lesion too small to be felt so that cells can be removed from the suspicious area and examined under a microscope to determine whether the abnormality is cancerous.
immunotherapy
1. The practice of giving small amounts of an allergy-producing substance in order to stimulate the formation of antibody that will neutralize it. 2. Use of the body's immune system to fight tumors.
impaction
1. A tooth compressed between the jaw and another tooth that fails to fully erupt through the surface of the gums. 2. An immobile mass of stool that does not easily pass from the rectum.
implanted port
A quarter-sized disk that is placed either surgically or by an interventional radiologist just beneath the skin in the chest or abdomen. The disk is connected to a catheter that is inserted into a large vein. Fluids, drugs, or blood products can be infused or blood drawn through a needle that is inserted into the disk through the skin. Examples of manufacturer's names: Port-o-cath, Infusaport, Lifeport.
impotence
Inability of the male to maintain erection and engage in sexual intercourse.
in situ breast cancer
The early stage of cancer when it is confined to the ducts of the breast where it began and has not invaded the surrounding fatty tissues.
incentive spirometer
A breathing apparatus that helps patients inflate their lungs and exercise breathing muscles to prevent the onset of pneumonia following surgery.
incisional biopsy
A type of surgical biopsy in which part of a lesion or abnormal group of cells is removed.
incontinence
Inability to prevent the discharge of urine or feces.
indolent
Slow to develop or progress.
infarction
The death of tissue in the body caused by an obstruction in the tissue's blood supply, a lack of oxygen or both factors.
inferior vena cava
The large vein that returns blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.
inflammation
The protective response of body tissues to irritation or injury. Signs include redness, heat, swelling and pain.
infusion
Introduction of a fluid, nutrient, or medication directly into a vein by means of gravity flow.
institutional review board (IRB)
A review body established to protect the welfare of human participants recruited for biomedical research.
internal jugular vein
One of a pair of neck veins that collect blood from the brain and face and convey it toward the heart.
internist
A physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the internal organs.
interstitial lung disease
A respiratory disorder causing shortness of breath on effort. In time the lung tissue may become severely scarred. While some patients recover, others develop respiratory failure or heart failure.
interstitium
The scaffolding of the lung that supports the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lung.
intestinal obstruction
Partial or total blockage of movement of food or stool through the intestines.
intracranial
Within the skull.
intracranial aneurysm
A ballooning out of the wall of an artery inside the brain; it may lead the vessel to rupture and bleed heavily.
intraoperative
During surgery.
intraoperative radiation therapy
Radiation treatment of cancer or other diseases done during surgery.
intraoral
Within the mouth.
intraosseous
Situated within, occurring within, or administered by entering a bone.
intrauterine
Within the uterus.
intravenous ('inside a vein')
Frequently a needle will be placed in a vein, often a large arm vein, to deliver fluids and medications, withdraw blood samples, and transfuse blood.
intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH)
Bleeding into the ventricles within the brain.
invasive
An invasive procedure is typically an "open" operation, such as appendectomy, which requires a surgical incision for exposure of deep structures or organs for performance of an intervention.
invasive breast cancer
Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it first developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues.
iodine
A non-metallic element found in table salt, seawater and in plants and animals that grow in the sea. The human body requires small amounts of iodine for healthy growth and development. This element is present in many radiographic contrast materials.
ionizing radiation
Radiation of sufficient energy to dissociate atoms or molecules into electrically charged atoms or radicals in the irradiated material.
irradiation
1. The subjective enlargement of a bright object seen against a dark background. 2. Exposure to the action of electromagnetic radiation (e.g., heat, light, x-rays).
irritable bowel syndrome
Characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel function - alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.
ischemia
An inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body.
isotope
One of two or more nuclides that are chemically identical, having the same number of protons, yet differ in mass number, since their nuclei contain different numbers of neutrons; individual isotopes are named with the inclusion of their mass number in the superior position (12C) and the atomic number (nuclear protons) in the inferior position (6C). In former usage, the mass numbers follow the chemical symbol (C-12).
jaundice
A condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes turn a yellowish color caused by abnormal levels of bilirubin, a yellow/orange pigment, in the bile and liver.
jejenum
The middle section of the small intestine.
kidney
One of the two bean-shaped organs that excrete urine; typically about 11 cm long, 5 cm wide, 3 cm thick, and located on either side of the backbone.
laceration
A torn wound or cut.
laparoscope
A thin, tube-like instrument with an attached light and a lens for viewing the inside of the abdominal cavity.
laparotomy
In this exploratory procedure, the surgeon makes a large incision in the abdomen and investigates the internal organs to help determine the cause and extent of a disease.
laser
A device emitting intense, focused light energy that can destroy tissues as an alternative to conventional surgical removal.
lateral view
A visual perspective from the side.
laxative
1. Mildly cathartic; having the action of loosening the bowels. 2. A mild cathartic; a remedy that moves the bowels slightly without pain or violent action.
leiomyoma
A benign tumor derived from smooth muscle. In the uterus, commonly called a fibroid.
lesion
An area of abnormal tissue on the skin or within the body caused by injury or disease. A lesion may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
leukemia
Cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside most bones.
lithotripsy
The crushing of a stone in the renal pelvis, ureter, or bladder, by mechanical force or sound waves.
liver
The largest gland of the body, lying beneath the diaphragm; it is of irregular shape and weighs from 1 to 2 kg (2 to 4 pounds). It secretes the bile and is also of great importance in both carbohydrate and protein metabolism.
lobules
Glands that make breast milk.
local anesthetic
Also called numbing agent. A medication used to produce a temporary loss of sensation in a specific area of the body during a surgical or other medical procedure; It may be administered as an injection under the skin, applied as a topical cream or a patch to the surface of the skin.
localization
1. Limitation to a definite area. 2. The reference of a sensation to its point of origin. 3. The determination of the location of a tumor, disease or other morbid process.
lumen, pl. lumina, lumens
The space in the interior of a tubular structure, such as an artery or the intestine.
lumpectomy
The surgical removal of a small tumor (a lump). Lumpectomy generally refers to the removal of a lump from the breast as an alternative to mastectomy, which is the removal of the entire breast including the lump.
lung
One of a pair of organs of respiration in the chest in which aeration of the blood takes place. As a rule, the right lung is slightly larger than the left and is divided into three lobes (an upper, a middle, and a lower), while the left has but two lobes (an upper and a lower). Each lung is irregularly conical in shape, presenting a blunt upper extremity (the apex), a concave base following the curve of the diaphragm, an outer convex surface following the inner curve of the ribs, an inner or mediastinal surface, a thin and sharp anterior border, and a thick and rounded posterior border.
lung volume reduction surgery
The removal of part of the damaged lung, which creates additional space for the remaining healthy lung tissue to expand more easily. This surgery is only used for those with severe emphysema.
lymph
A clear, transparent, sometimes faintly yellow and slightly opalescent fluid that is collected from the tissues throughout the body, flows in the lymphatic vessels (through the lymph nodes), and is eventually added to the venous blood circulation. Lymph consists of a clear liquid portion, varying numbers of white blood cells (chiefly lymphocytes), and a few red blood cells.
lymph nodes
Small structures throughout the body that filter lymph fluid and collect inflammatory cells in order to keep them from spreading infection.
magnetic field gradient
In magnetic resonance imaging, a magnetic field that varies with location, superimposed on the main uniform field of the magnet, to alter the resonant frequency of nuclei and allow detection of their spatial position.
mandible
The lower jaw.
maxilla
The upper jaw.
mediastinum
The central part of the chest cavity, behind the sternum and between the two lungs. This space is mostly occupied by the heart and its major blood vessels, and by the trachea and esophagus.
medical radiation physicists
Qualified medical physicists work directly with the doctor in the treatment planning and delivery. They oversee the work of the dosimetrist and help ensure that complex treatments are properly tailored for each patient. Qualified medical physicists are responsible for developing and directing quality control programs for equipment and procedures. They are responsible for making sure the equipment works properly. Medical radiation physicists take precise measurements of radiation beam characteristics and do other safety tests on a regular basis. Qualified medical physicists have doctorates or master's degrees. Qualified medical physicists have completed four years of college, two to four years of graduate school and typically one to two years of clinical physics training. They are certified by the American Board of Radiology or the American Board of Medical Physics.
melanoma
A malignant tumor, usually in the skin, that develops from a pigmented lesion over a period of months or years.
membrane
A thin layer of tissue that covers a surface, lines a cavity, or divides space in the body.
menopause
The point in a woman's life when she stops menstruating, or having periods.
mesentery
Abdominal membrane that connects the intestines to the abdominal cavity.
metabolic rate
The amount of energy or heat expended by the body in a given unit of time as a result of the body's metabolism, or all of its chemical processes.
metabolism
The sum total of all chemical processes in the body that result in growth, energy, waste elimination and other body functions following food digestion and the distribution of nutrients in the blood.
metastasize
To spread to another part of the body, usually through the blood vessels, lymph channels, or spinal fluid.
metastatic tumor
A cancerous tumor formed when cancer cells located elsewhere in the body break away and spread to a new site.
microstent
A small wire mesh tube-like device used to hold open an artery following balloon angioplasty.
mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
A condition in which memory or other cognitive functions are below normal but do not interfere with daily functioning. MCI is considered a transitional state between normal forgetfulness and dementia.
milligray (mGy)
A unit of absorbed radiation equal to one thousandth of a gray, or 0.1 rad.
milliroentgens
One-thousandth of a roentgen (the international unit of exposure dose for x-rays or gamma rays).
modality
A form of application or employment of a therapeutic agent or regimen.
monoclonal antibodies
A laboratory-produced molecule that is engineered to recognize and bind to the surface of cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies mimic the antibodies naturally produced by the body's immune system that attack invading foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses.
mortality
The rate of death from a particular disease or condition in a defined population.
MR spectroscopy (MRS)
A variation of conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This diagnostic imaging technique measures the concentration of metabolites, which are produced by chemical reactions in the brain and other areas of the body, and displays the results as a graph. The peaks in the graph represent various metabolites. The concentration of these metabolites can be altered by many diseases, including tumor, infections and trauma.
mucous
A slimy substance secreted by glands in mucous membranes. Mucous helps protect and lubricate surfaces within the body.
multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT)
A form of computed tomography technology with a two-dimensional (2-D) detector that produces multiple, thinner slices in a single rotation and a shorter period of time allowing for more detail and additional view capabilities.
multiple myeloma
An uncommon disease that occurs more frequently in men than in women and is associated with anemia, hemorrhage, recurrent infections, and weakness.
musculoskeletal
Relating to muscles and to the skeleton, as, for example, the musculoskeletal system.
myeloma
A tumor of the bone marrow. Multiple myeloma is an uncommon cancer of the white blood cells in the bone marrow that is associated with anemia, hemorrhage, recurrent infections, and weakness.
myocardial infarction
Also known as a heart attack, it occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is blocked. If blood flow is not quickly restored, the section of the heart wall involved may begin to die.
myocardial perfusion scan
The most common cardiac nuclear medicine procedure, which results in imaging of blood-flow patterns to the heart muscles.
myometrium
The muscular walls of the uterus.
myopathy
A muscle disease characterized by muscle weakness that usually results in the deterioration of muscle.
narcotic
A substance that is used medically to relive pain and/or produce a state of drowsiness or sleep.
nasal cavity
A system of air channels connecting the nose with the back of the throat.
natural background exposure
Radiation is a natural part of life. It has existed since the beginning of time and is an integral part of the universe in which we live. Life as we know it on earth has evolved in the presence of radiation. Radiation comes to us from many sources both natural and man-made. These sources include cosmic radiation from outer space, radiation from the soil and buildings, and natural isotopes in our own bodies. Cosmic radiation and terrestrial radiation vary with location.
necrosis
The death of living tissue.
needle aspiration
The removal of living tissue for microscopic examination by suction through a fine needle attached to a syringe. The procedure is used primarily to obtain cells from a lesion containing fluid.
needle biopsy
Removal of tissue or suspensions of cells from living patients through a small needle for diagnostic examination.
neoadjuvant treatment
A treatment given prior to the main or primary treatment.
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
An intensive care unit containing specialized equipment to treat and care for premature or critically ill newborn babies.
nephrogenic
Of or related to the kidney.
nephropathy
Damage to or disease of the kidney.
nerve fibers
Also called axons. Threadlike extensions from a nerve cell.
neuro-oncologist
A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating brain tumors and other tumors of the nervous system.
neuroendovascular treatments
Procedures in which miniature instruments or a catheter containing medications are inserted into a blood vessel in the brain to treat vascular disease or abnormalities.
neurologic
Pertaining to the nervous system and its disorders.
neurologist
A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions related to the brain and nervous system.
neuron
Also called a nerve cell. A specialized cell in the brain and nervous system that receives and sends electrical impulses through networks of connections.
neuroradiology
The clinical subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic radiology of diseases of the central nervous system, head, and neck.
neurostimulators
Devices that are implanted into the spine and connected to internal or external generators to stimulate the nerves as a means of disrupting pain signals or causing organs to function more efficiently.
nodule
A small, solid lump. A lump can be benign or malignant.
non-Hodgkin lymphoma
One of two major categories of lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, that begins in either the B cells or T cells of the immune system.
nonradiologic
Not related to radiology.
nonrepudiation
Nonrepudiation ensures that a party cannot argue the validity of a statement or contract, that a transferred message has been sent and received by the parties claiming to have sent and received the message; methods include digital signature, the use of public and private keys, and auditing of all user activity.
NSAID
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that reduces swelling and pain, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
occluded
Blocked.
occult
An injury or disease is said to be occult when it is hidden, difficult to see or unaccompanied by readily discernible signs and symptoms.
oophorectomy
The surgical removal of one or both ovaries.
opaque
Impervious to light or radiation; not transparent or only slightly so.
orbit
The bony cavity containing the eyeball.
orthodontic
Related to orthodontics, a specialty within dentistry to prevent and correct teeth irregularities.
osmosis
Movement of a solution through the membrane of a cell.
osteoarthritis
A common condition that usually starts in middle age and is characterized by degenerative changes in the bone and cartilage of one or more joints.
osteomyelitis
Bone infection.
pack-years
A measure of an individual's cigarette smoking history calculated by multiplying the number of cigarette packs smoked per day by the number of years the individual has smoked.
Paget disease
A genetic or viral condition characterized by excessive breakdown and formation of bone tissue that can lead to enlarged or misshapen bones.
palliative treatment
Treatment designed to relieve or control symptoms rather than to cure disease.
palpable
1. Able to be felt; perceptible to touch 2. Evident; plain
pancreatography
An imaging examination of the pancreatic ducts. For x-ray pancreatography, the examination requires direct injection of contrast material into the pancreatic ducts. For MRI, pancreatography is performed without a direct contrast material injection, however an intravenous injection of contrast material may be used.
papilloma
A tumor, usually benign, that may appear on a mucous membrane or the surface of the skin.
paranasal
Alongside the nose.
parathyroid glands
Typically four small raisin-sized glands in the neck primarily involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.
partial colectomy
Removal of part of the colon.
patency
The state of being freely open or exposed.
pathologic
Morbid or diseased; resulting from disease.
pathologist
A physician specializing in the examination of cells and tissues.
pathology
The study of disease processes.
penetrating injury
An injury in which the skin is broken as the result of a cut (laceration).
perforation
A hole in the walls of an organ or structure of the body that develops from a weak spot in the organ or from a deep penetrating wound caused by trauma.
perfusion
The flow of blood or other fluid to an organ.
pericardial effusion
Excessive fluid within the sac surrounding the heart, usually due to inflammation.
perineum
The surface of the body between the anus and the scrotum in men and between the anus and the vulva in women.
periodontal disease
Disease that affects the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth.
peritoneum
A thin layer of connective tissue that lines the abdominal cavity.
peritonitis
Inflammation of the thin tissues that line the abdomen and the abdominal organs.
periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
Damage to white matter brain tissue as a result of a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain prior, during or after birth.
peroxide
Also known as hydrogen peroxide, a liquid bleaching agent used as a disinfectant.
pharyngeal
Related to the pharynx, or throat.
phlebectomy
Removal of a vein segment, sometimes performed for the treatment of varicose veins.
phlebitis
Painful inflammation (swelling) of the veins.
photodynamic therapy
A form of treatment in which a drug is administered and then activated by light.
physicist
A specialist in the science of physics.
Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)
A computer system for acquiring, storing, viewing, and managing digital medical imaging studies and related information.
pituitary adenoma
A common, benign tumor of the pituitary gland that may affect hormonal levels.
plaque
An accumulation of fat and other substances on the inner wall of a blood vessel that, over time, may build up and limit or block blood flow through the vessel.
platelets
Particles that are formed in bone marrow and circulate in the blood. They bind at the site of a wound to begin the clotting process.
pleural effusion
An excess of fluid in the pleural cavity, the space that surrounds the lungs and lies underneath the chest wall.
pleural membrane
A thin layer of tissue that lines the pleural cavity, the space that surrounds the lungs and lies underneath the chest wall.
pleural space
Also called pleural cavity. The cavity that exists between the lungs and underneath the chest wall. It is normally empty, with the lung immediately against the inside of the chest wall. In some diseases, fluid can build up in this space (a pleural effusion). In trauma, air can enter this space (a pneumothorax). Under either condition, excessive fluid or air in the pleural space can cause difficulty breathing since the lung is prevented from inflating fully.
pleurisy
Inflammation of the membrame encasing the lungs.
polycythemia
A disorder in which there is an abnormal increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood.
polyp
A usually benign growth that bulges outward from the surface of normal tissue, usually appearing as an irregular mound- or mushroom-like structure growing from a broad base or a slender stalk.
porous
Having small holes or pores.
portal vein
Also called the hepatic portal vein. The main vein that carries blood from the digestive tract to the liver.
post-embolization syndrome
A condition that includes pain, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever that many patients experience following an embolization procedure. to prevent blood from flowing to the area.
posteroanterior view
A term typically denoting the direction of x-rays, from posterior to anterior, through a body part.
precancerous
Abnormal tissue changes that often are found before cancer develops.
primary aldosteronism
A condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone, leading to high blood pressure.
primary headache
One of the two major types of headaches. Primary headaches, which include cluster, migraine and tension headaches, are not associated with a medical condition or disease.
probe
1. A slender rod of flexible material, with blunt bulbous tip, used for exploring sinuses, fistulas, other cavities, or wounds. 2. A device or agent used to detect or explore a substance; e.g., a molecule used to detect the presence of a specific fragment of DNA or RNA or of a specific bacterial colony. 3. To enter and explore, as with a probe.
proctocolectomy
A surgical procedure to remove the rectum and part or the entire colon.
proctoscopy
This procedure uses a special camera at the end of a tube that allows the doctor to see inside the rectum.
prognostic
Related to a medical prognosis, a prediction of the course and likely outcome of a disease.
prophylactic cranial radiation
Exposure of the brain to low-dose radiation in a cancer patient in order to prevent the tumor from spreading to this site.
prostate cancer
A tumor of the prostate gland, which is located in front of a man's rectum and below the bladder.
prostatitis
An inflammation (swelling) of the prostate gland.
proton
A positively charged particle that is a fundamental component of the nucleus of all atoms.
pulmonary
Related to the lungs or the respiratory system.
pulmonary edema
A build-up of fluid in the lungs and a swelling of lung tissue.
pulmonary embolism
Blockage of the arteries in the lungs, most frequently by detached fragments of a blood clot from a leg or pelvic vein, commonly when that clot follows an operation or confinement to bed.
pulmonary hypertension
A type of high blood pressure within the network of blood vessels between the heart and lungs.
pulse oximetry
A test that involves a small device placed on a finger tip to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood.
pyelography
Radiologic study of the kidney, ureters, and usually the bladder, performed with the aid of a contrast material either injected intravenously, or directly from below via the urethra, or from above through the kidney (either via a direct puncture or through a previously placed catheter).
pyelonephritis
A bacterial infection of the kidney that may occur when a urinary tract infection (UTI) spreads beyond the bladder to the ureters and kidneys.
pylorus
The passage from the stomach into the small intestines.
radiation
Radiant energy from waves or subatomic particles.
radiation oncologist
Doctors who oversee the care of each cancer patient undergoing radiation treatment. They develop and prescribe each cancer patient's treatment plan, they make sure that every treatment is accurately given, and they monitor the patient's progress and adjust treatment to make sure patients get quality care throughout treatment. Radiation oncologists also help identify and treat any side effects of radiation therapy and work closely with all members of the radiation oncology team. Radiation oncologists have completed four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of general medical internship, then four years of residency (specialty training in radiation oncology). They have extensive training in the safe use of radiation to treat disease. If they pass a special examination, they are certified by the American Board of Radiology. Patients should ask if their doctor is board certified.
radiation oncology
Also known as radiation therapy. The study and use of x-rays or radionuclides to treat abnormal tissue growths (malignant or nonmalignant).
radiation oncology nurses
Nurses work with the radiation team to care for patients during the course of treatment. They help evaluate the patient before treatment begins and talk to the patient about their treatment, the potential side effects and their management. During the course of radiation treatments patients may be evaluated weekly, or more frequently by the nurse to assess problems and concerns. Radiation oncology nurses are registered nurses. Most nurses in radiation therapy have additional accreditation in the specialty of oncology nursing. Advanced practice nurses in oncology, which include clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners, have completed a master's degree program.
radiation pneumonitis
Inflammation of lung tissue caused by exposure to radiation therapy.
radiation therapist
Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists. They administer the daily radiation treatment under the doctor's prescription and supervision, maintain daily records and regularly check the treatment machines to make sure they are working properly. Radiation therapists go through a two-to-four year educational program following high school or college, then take a special examination and must be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. In addition, many states require that radiation therapists be licensed.
Radiation Units
There are a number of units to measure radiation dose and exposure:
radioactive
Giving off radiation.
radioactive disintegration
The decrease in the amount of any radioactive material with the passage of time due to the spontaneous emission of radiation from an atomic nucleus.
radiofrequency ablation
A treatment technique that uses high-frequency alternating electrical current to destroy tissue cells by heating them.
radiographic
Referring to the examination of any part of the body for diagnostic purposes by means of x-rays.
radiography
Examination of any part of the body for diagnostic purposes by means of x-rays with the findings usually recorded digitally or on film.
radioisotope bone scan
A nuclear imaging examination that produces pictures of bones to help detect abnormalities caused by disease or injury. During a bone scan, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the body and collects in the bones.
Radiology Information System (RIS)
A special case of a hospital information system (HIS) tailored to radiological imaging, containing information such as imaging examination orders, schedules on imaging modalities, imaging device parameters, billing codes and information.
radiolucent
Almost completely transparent to x-rays.
radiopaque
Impenetrable by x-rays or any other form of radiation.
radiosensitizers
Drugs that enhance the effect of radiation on cancer cells.
radiotherapists
One who practices radiotherapy or is versed in radiotherapeutics.
radiotherapy
The medical specialty concerned with the use of electromagnetic or particulate radiation in the treatment of disease.
radon
A radioactive gas without odor, taste or color that occurs naturally with the decay of uranium and thorium, metallic chemicals found in rocks and soil. Radon ingestion or inhalation can cause health problems (e.g., lung cancer).
raster
A scan pattern in which an area is scanned in a rectangular pattern from side-to-side in lines from top to bottom to create an image that is projected on a cathode-ray tube and displayed on a screen.
reactive airway disease
An asthma-like syndrome due to muscle spasms in the airways. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and difficulty breathing. This includes patients with asthma.
rectum
The lower part of the large intestine where water is absorbed from the gut and where stool is formed.
Reed-Sternberg cell
A cell that distinguishes diseased tissue as Hodgkin lymphoma.
referring physician
Usually a non-radiologist physician who sends a patient to a specialist for more information or treatment.
renal hypertension
High blood pressure caused by a narrowing of the kidney arteries
reproductive
Relating to the system of organs and parts used in reproduction. In the male, this consists of the testes, penis, seminal vesicles, prostate, and urethra. In the female, this consists of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, and vulva.
resection
Surgical removal of part or all of an organ or an area of diseased tissue.
respiratory
Related to the process of moving air into and out of the lungs, exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body's tissues.
respiratory therapy
Treatment to preserve or improve lung function.
retinoblastoma
A tumor of the retina, occurring in children.
rheumatoid arthritis
A chronic autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the lining, cartilage, bones, and supporting structures of multiple joints.
sacroiliac joint
joint in the pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis
saline
Salt water.
salpingo-oophorectomy
Surgical removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
sciatica
A general term for pain related to the sciatic nerve; it may result from a herniated intervertebral disc in the spine.
scintigraphy
A diagnostic procedure consisting of the administration of a radionuclide that accumulates in the organ or tissue of interest, followed by recording the distribution of the radioactivity with a stationary or scanning external scintillation camera.
sclerotherapy
Treatment involving the injection of a sclerosing (hardening) solution into vessels or tissues.
scoliosis
A side-to-side curvature of the spine that usually develops in childhood or adolescence.
screening mammography
Imaging examination of the breast by means of x-rays, of individuals usually without symptoms, to detect unsuspected breast cancer.
secondary headache
One of the two major types of headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by an injury or underlying illness, such as bleeding in the brain, an infection or a brain tumor.
secure sockets layer (SSL)
A cryptographic communications protocol that provides secure transmissions on the Internet by encoding/decoding the data transfers.
sedation, non-pharmacological
Approaches that guide a patient to a state of relaxation by focusing attention on pleasant thoughts. Guidance is provided by specially trained radiology or other medical personnel. This condition may be achieved via distraction techniques or self-hypnotic relaxation.
sedative
A drug that allows you to relax during a procedure like angiography, often without putting you to sleep.
seizure
A sudden, uncontrollable wave of electrical activity in the brain that causes involuntary bodily movement, a change in attention or a loss of consciousness.
seizure disorders
A condition marked by sudden, uncontrollable waves of electrical activity in the brain, causing involuntary movement or loss of consciousness.
semen
A thick white fluid, made and stored in male testicles, that carries sperm out of the body through the penis during ejaculation.
sentinel lymph node
The first lymph node in a lymph node bed to receive drainage from a tumor site.
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Any infectious disease that is passed from one person to another during sexual contact.
shear injury
Also known as diffuse axonal injury. Stretched or torn nerve fibers in the brain.
sickle-cell anemia
A severe, chronic type of anemia caused by an abnormal form of hemoglobin that distorts the red blood cells. These abnormal red blood cells sometimes plug the blood vessels, causing damage to the organ downstream.
sigmoid colon
The lower part of the colon.
single-photon emission-computed tomography (SPECT)
An imaging test that uses a gamma camera and a computer to create three-dimensional (3-D) images of the distribution of a radiotracer in the body. SPECT is used to study blood flow through the heart muscle, and to study the brain, bones and to detect infection and certain types of tumors.
sinusitis
Infection or inflammation of one or more of the sinuses.
sloughing
The process in which dead tissue becomes separated from living anatomic structures.
social workers
Social workers may be available to provide practical help and counseling to patients or members of their families and can help them to cope. They also may help arrange for home health care and other services. Social workers may be licensed. Licensed social workers must have a master's degree and must pass an examination.
sonication
A pulse of ultrasonic energy used to heat up and destroy diseased tissue.
sonographer
An allied health professional who has been specifically trained to perform ultrasound examinations. Many sonographers are certified by a registry of sonographers, provided they meet strict training requirements and pass examinations in basic ultrasound science and clinical applications.
sonography
Syn: ultrasonography. The imaging of body structures by measuring the reflection or transmission of high frequency sound waves. Computer calculation of the distance to the sound-reflecting or -absorbing surface plus the known orientation of the sound beam gives a two- or three-dimensional image.
sonohysterography
Sonography of the uterus and fallopian tubes using a transvaginal probe following the injection of sterile saline into the uterus via a thin catheter inserted through the cervix.
speculum
An instrument for enlarging the opening of a canal or cavity in order to facilitate inspection of its interior; most frequently used with Pap tests.
sperm
Sperm (or spermatozoa) is the male reproductive cell carried by semen through the penis when a man ejaculates.
sphincter
A ring-like muscle that surrounds and is able to contract or close a bodily passage or opening.
spinal cord
A cylindrical bundle of nerves, lying within the vertebral column, that carries sensory messages from peripheral nerves to the brain, and motor impulses from the brain to the body's muscles.
spinal fusion
Surgical fixation of an unstable segment of the spine.
spirometer
A device that measures the volume of air that moves in and out of the lungs.
spleen
A large organ located in the left, upper abdomen, beside the stomach; as part of the immune system, it produces white blood cells and acts as a blood filter.
stage
Extent or progression of a disease such as cancer.
staging
Determining the extent or progression of a disease such as cancer.
stenosis, pl. stenoses
Also called a stricture. 1. An abnormal narrowing of any canal; for example, a narrowing of one of the cardiac valves. 2. Narrowing of an opening or passageway in the body. Stenosis of an artery may reduce blood flow through the vessel.
stereotactic biopsy
An x-ray procedure that uses multiple coordinates to precisely determine the location of a tumor or nodule so that a tissue sample may be obtained.
sternum
The breastbone (the long, flat bone that forms the front of the chest cage).
stress test
A heart monitoring test to discover how well the heart works, usually performed via physical exercise, sometimes via drugs to simulate heart stress.
subarachnoid hemorrhage
Blood collection between middle (arachnoid) and inner (pia mater) linings of the brain. It can be a result of trauma, or a bursting (ruptured) aneurysm. An aneurysm is a small area of weakness of the wall of an artery, which may be congenital, or less commonly, due to other causes, such as an infection.
subarachnoid space
The space between the membrane covering the spinal cord and the cord itself.
subclavian vein
A major vein running under the collarbone (clavicle) which receives blood from the large vein of the upper arm and returns toward the heart.
superior vena cava
One of the largest veins in the body, it returns blood from the entire upper half of the body directly to the right atrium, one of the heart chambers.
surgical shunt
A surgically created passageway to allow blood or other bodily fluids to flow between two locations. A shunt may be used to move fluid from one part of the body to another or to divert blood flow from one route to another.
sutures
Stitches used to hold tissue together or to close a wound.
syphilis
A sexually transmitted disease that can cause lesions of the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.
technetium-99m
A radiotracer commonly used in nuclear medicine for many different types of examination. It decays within 24 hours, leaving no residual radiation.
technologist
One trained in and using the techniques of a profession, art, or science.
temporomandibular joint disorder
Also known as TMJ. A group of disorders associated with pain in the face affecting the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints (upper temporal bone and lower mandible jaw bone that form the joint) and nerves.
tension headache
A headache in which pressure and a band-like tightness begins in the back of the head and upper neck and gradually encircles the head.
testicular torsion
The twisting of the spermatic cord that contains the vessels that supply blood to the testicles.
therapeutic radiology
A medical specialty and the study of radiation treatment of abnormal tissue (nonmalignant or cancerous) through the use of x-rays or radionuclides.
therapist
One professionally trained and/or skilled in the practice of a particular type of therapy.
thrombolytic agent
One of a group of medications used to dissolve clots within the blood vessels of the body.
thrombolytic therapy
The use of medication used to break up or dissolve clots within blood vessels.
thrombophlebitis
Inflamation of a vein that results when a blood clot, a thickened mass of blood, forms along the wall of a blood vessel.
thyroid gland
One of nine endocrine glands in the body, located in front of the neck just below the Adam's apple. It is shaped like a butterfly, with two lobes on either side of the neck connected by a narrow band of tissue. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones that set the rate the body carries on its necessary functions (metabolic rate). Some of the functions controlled by thyroid hormones include heart rate, cholesterol level, body weight, energy level, muscle strength, skin condition and vision.
tomography
Making a radiographic image of a selected plane by means of reciprocal linear or curved motion of the x-ray tube and film cassette; images of all other planes are blurred ("out of focus") by being relatively displaced on the film.
trachea
Also known as the windpipe, the tube that connects the lungs and mouth.
transabdominal
Through or across the abdomen.
transducer
A hand-held device that sends and receives ultrasound signals.
transrectal
Passing through or performed by way of the rectum.
transvaginal
Across or through the vagina (the genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva).
trocar
A hollow needle with a sharply pointed end that is inserted into a blood vessel, body cavity or bone. Needles, tubes or other instruments are then inserted through the trocar be inserted to reach the treatment area.
tuberculosis
A highly contagious infection transmitted through the air that attacks the lungs and other parts of the body.
tumor ablation
The removal of a tumor.
ulcers (of the skin)
An open sore or irritation on the skin.
ulcers (of the stomach)
A sore or erosion in the lining of the stomach.
ultrasound, diagnostic
Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. The soundwaves' echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time, visual image. No ionizing radiation is involved in ultrasound imaging.
ultraviolet
Denoting electromagnetic rays at higher frequency than the violet end of the visible spectrum.
undescended testicle
A testicle that hasn't descended from the body.
uranium (U)
A radioactive metallic element, atomic no. 92, atomic wt. 238.0289, occurring mainly in pitchblende and notable for its two isotopes: 238U and 235U (99.2745% and 0.720%, respectively, the rest being made up by 234U), 235U being the first substance ever shown capable of supporting a self-sustaining chain reaction.
ureter
The tube that carries urine from each kidney to empty into the bladder.
urethra
A tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. In men, the urethra carries semen from the prostate and other sex glands out of the body through the penis.
urethrocystometry
A procedure that simultaneously measures pressures in urinary bladder and urethra.
uric acid
A waste product left over from normal chemical processes in the body and found in the urine and blood.
urinary
Relating to the organs involved in producing and passing urine.
urography
Radiography of any part (kidneys, ureters, or bladder) of the urinary tract.
urologist
A medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of genitourinary tract diseases.
uterine
Relating to the uterus.
uterine cavity
The space within the uterus.
vacuum-assisted biopsy
A type of biopsy in which a vacuum-powered instrument is inserted through the skin to the site of an abnormal growth to collect and remove a sample of cells for analysis. Using vacuum pressure, the abnormal cells and tissue are removed without having to withdraw the probe after each sampling as in core needle biopsy.
vagina
The genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva.
vagus nerve
One of two nerves that run on opposite sides of the body from the brainstem through the neck and chest to the abdomen. The vagus nerves are involved in bodily functions that are not under voluntary control, such as breathing and digestion, as well as regulation of the heart rate.
varicocele
An abnormal enlargement of a vein in the scrotum draining the testicles.
varicose
Abnormally swollen and enlarged.
vascular
Relating to or containing blood vessels.
vascular disease
Any condition that affects the (circulatory) system of blood vessels that carries blood from the heart throughout the rest of the body. This includes diseases of the arteries, veins, and lymph vessels and blood disorders that affect circulation.
vasospasm
The narrowing of a blood vessel due to excessive contraction of the vessel wall.
vein
One of a large system of branching vessels that collect blood which the arteries have distributed to body tissues and returns it to the heart and then the lungs.
vein stripping
A procedure in which varicose veins, abnormally swollen and enlarged blood vessels, are removed surgically, usually from the leg.
venogram
X-ray imaging of the veins following contrast material injection into the veins.
venous insufficiency
Enlarged veins with faulty valves that permit blood to pool by gravity instead of returning to the heart for re-circulation.
ventilation
1. Replacement of air or other gas in a space by fresh air or gas. 2. Movement of gas(es) into and out of the lungs.
ventricles
1. In the brain, the hollow cavities containing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). 2. The main pumping chambers in the heart.
vertebra
An individual bone in the column of bones that extends from the base of the skull to the pelvis which permits us to stand upright and serves to enclose and protect the spinal cord.
vertebral compression fractures
Fractures of the vertebrae caused by the compression, or excessive pushing, of one bone against another.
virtual private network (VPN)
A computer network in which links between computers or other hardware devices are carried on an open connection or over the Internet instead of being directly connected by physical wires; software encryption ensures that only authorized users can access the network.
volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) is an advanced form of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) that delivers a targeted three-dimensional dose of radiation to a tumor in one or more treatments.
white blood cells
Also known as lymphocytes. Cells that circulate in the blood and are responsible for both directly and indirectly fighting infection by attacking foreign invaders of the body.
wire localization
Guided by an imaging modality such as magnetic resonance imaging, a wire is inserted through a hollow needle to a lesion, or suspicious area of cells and tissue. The wire then guides the surgeon to the area so that the abnormal tissue can be surgically removed for examination.
x-ray
1. The ionizing electromagnetic radiation emitted from a vacuum tube, resulting from the bombardment of the target anode with a stream of electrons from a heated cathode. 2. Ionizing electromagnetic radiation produced by the excitation of the inner orbital electrons of an atom by other processes, such as nuclear delay and its sequelae. 3. A radiograph.