A lot of medical terms sound complicated to us because they have their origin in Latin, but when you understand how they are formed, it gets relatively easier. If you divide the medical term in terms of (Prefix + Root + Suffix) everything feels much simpler, even for us common folks.
The prefix and suffix usually describes what is happening and a brief cue of where (direction) it is happening whereas the root tells which organ is affected. Go through the prefix, suffix and root list and you will never have trouble understanding the terms your doctor uses or while watching a season of House MD
Prefix Meaning Ab- Moving away Ad- Drawing towards Anterior- Front Anti Opposing or against Bi- Double, two, twice, both Brady- Slow Caudo Downward Cephalo Upward Co-, con-, com- With, together De- From, down Di- Twice, two Distal Away Dys- Unwell, difficult Endo- Inside, within Exo- Outside Extra, Extro Outside of, Beyond, outward Hemi Half of Hyper- Above, excessive, beyond Hyp-, hypo- Below, beneath, deficient Infra- Below or beneath Inter Between Intra within, inside Intro into Macro Large Micro, Micr Small Necro- Death Post After, following Pre, Pro Before, preceding, in front of Posterior- Back Proximal Near Retro Behind, backward Semi Half Tachy- Fast Trans Though, across Tri 3 Ultra Excess
Suffix Meaning -ac,-ic,-al,-ous,-tic Related to -ate, -ize Subject to -genic Produced by -gram A written record -graph Instrument used to record -graphy Process of recording -ism Condition -tis Inflammation -oma Tumor -pathy Disease -phobia Fear, intolerance -scope Instrument used to examine -scopy Process of examining
The Exterior Root
Exterior Root Meaning Blephar Eyelid Carp/o Wrist Cephal/o Head Cervic Cervix or neck Crani Skull Cubit Elbow Dactyl Fingers, toes Derm/a Skin Gingiv Gums in the mouth Gloss/o Tongue Gnath/o Jows Inguin/o Groin Irid/o Iris of the eye Labi/o Lips Lapar/o Abdomen Mamm/a, mamm/o Breast Occul/o Eye Odont/o Teeth Opthalm/0 Eyes Ot/o Ear Papill/o Nipple Pelv/i Pelvis Phall/o Penis Pod/o Foot Rhin/o Nose Steth/o Chest Stomat/o Mouth Tal/o Ankle Tars/o Foot Thorac/o Chest/thorax Trich Hair
The Interior Root
Interior Root Meaning Example Abdomin/o Abdomen Abdominoplasty: Surgical reconstruction of abdomen Angi/o Vessel Angioplasty: Surgical reconstruction of a vessel Arteri/o Artery Arterioplasty: Surgical reconstruction of an artery Arthr/o Joint Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint Audi/o Hearing Audiometry: Heasring measurement using an audiometer Bronch/i, bronch/o Bronchus/lung Bronchitis: Inflammation of bronchi Cardi/o Heart Cardiomegaly: Enlargement of heart Cholecyst/o Gallbladder Cholecystectomy: Removal of gallbladder Chondr/i, chondr/o Cartilage Chondromalacia: Softening of cartilage Col/o Colon Colonoscopy: Examination of colon Cry/o Cold Cryotherapy: Using cold temperature to treat Cysti, cyst/o Bladder, or cyst Cystitis: Inflammation of bladder Cyt/o Cell Cytology: Study of cells Duoden/o Duodenum Duodenotomy: Surgical cutting into the duodenum Encephal/o Brain Encephalitis: Inflammation of brain Episi/o Vulva Episiotomy: Surgical cutting of vulva Erythr/o Red Erythrocytes: Red blood cells Esophag/o Esophagus Esophagitis: Inflammation of esophagus Galact/o Milk Galactorrhea: Spontaneous flow of milk when nursing Gastr/o Stomach Gastritis: Inflammation of stomach Glyc/o Sugar Glycosuria: Sugar in the urine Gynec/o Female Gynecologist: Physician who studies and treats diseases of female reproductive organs Hemat/o, hem/o Blood Hematocyte: Blood cell Hepat/o Liver Hepatitis: Inflammation of liver Heter/o Other, different Heterosexual: Sexually attracted to the opposite sex Hist/o, histi/o Tissue Histology: Study and function of tissue Hom/o, home/o Same, alike Homosexual: Sexually attracted to the same sex Hydr/o Water, wet Hydromassage: Massage by means of moving water Hyster/o Uterus Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of uterus Ile/o Ileum (intestine) Ileostomy: Artificial opening into the ileum Ili/o Ilium (pelvic bone) Ilioinguinal: Pertaining to the ilium and inguinal regions Jejun/o Jejunum Jejunitis: Inflammation of jejunum Lacrima Tears Lacrimatory: Causing a flow of tears Laryng/o Larynx Laryngitis: Inflammation of larynx Leuk/o White Leukocyte: White blood cell Lith/o Stone or calculus Lithotripsy: Crushing of a stone or calculus Men/o Menstruation Menorrhea: Menstrual flow Myel/o Bone marrow/spinal cord Myelogram: Recording of spinal cord My/o Muscle Myositis: Inflammation of a muscle Nat/o Birth Prenatal: Before birth Necr/o Death Necrosis: Death of a cell Nephr/o Kidney Nephrectomy: Surgical removal of a kidney Neur/o, neur/i Nerve Neurologist: Physician who studies and treats conditions of nervous system Oophor/o Ovary Oophorectomy: Surgical removal of an ovary Orchid/o, orchi/o Testis Orchialgia: Testicular pain Peritone/o Peritoneum Peritoneal: Pertaining to the peritoneum Pharyng/o Pharynx Pharyngitis: Inflammation of pharynx (sore throat) Pleur/o, pleur/a Pleura, rib (side) Pleurisy: Inflammation of lining of chest cavity Pneum/o/a Lungs Pneumonitis: Inflammation of lung Proct/o Rectum, anus Proctologist: Physician who studies and treats diseases of rectum and anus Pulmon/o Lungs Pulmonary: Pertaining to the lungs Pyel/o Renal pelvis Pyelolithotomy: Removal of a stone from the pelvis or kidney Rect/o Rectum Rectosigmoid: Pertaining to the rectum and sigmoid Salping/o Fallopian tube Salpingectomy: Surgical removal of a fallopian tube Sarc/o Flesh Sarcoid: Resembling flesh Splen/o Spleen Splenectomy: Surgical removal of spleen Tend/o Tendon Tendinitis (or tendonitis): Inflammation of a tendon Testicul/o Testis Testicular: Pertaining to a testis or testicle Thorac/o Chest Thoracotomy: Incision into the chest cavity Tonsill/o Tonsils Tonsillitis: Inflammation of tonsils Ureter/o Ureter Ureterolithotomy: Removal of a calculus (stone) from a ureter by means of incision Urethr/o Urethra Urethritis: Inflammation of urethra Vas/o Vas deferens Vasectomy: Surgical removal of portion of vas deferens for male sterilization Viscer/o Viscera (organs) Viscerography: Radiography of viscera