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Deciphering Medical Terms - For Laymen

By PR Admin, Aug 14, 2015 | |
  1. 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 ;)


    The Prefix
    PrefixMeaning
    Ab-Moving away
    Ad-Drawing towards
    Anterior-Front
    AntiOpposing or against
    Bi-Double, two, twice, both
    Brady-Slow
    CaudoDownward
    CephaloUpward
    Co-, con-, com-With, together
    De-From, down
    Di-Twice, two
    DistalAway
    Dys-Unwell, difficult
    Endo-Inside, within
    Exo-Outside
    Extra, ExtroOutside of, Beyond, outward
    HemiHalf of
    Hyper-Above, excessive, beyond
    Hyp-, hypo-Below, beneath, deficient
    Infra-Below or beneath
    InterBetween
    Intrawithin, inside
    Introinto
    MacroLarge
    Micro, MicrSmall
    Necro-Death
    PostAfter, following
    Pre, ProBefore, preceding, in front of
    Posterior-Back
    ProximalNear
    RetroBehind, backward
    SemiHalf
    Tachy-Fast
    TransThough, across
    Tri3
    UltraExcess

    The Suffix
    SuffixMeaning
    -ac,-ic,-al,-ous,-ticRelated to
    -ate, -izeSubject to
    -genicProduced by
    -gramA written record
    -graphInstrument used to record
    -graphyProcess of recording
    -ismCondition
    -tisInflammation
    -omaTumor
    -pathyDisease
    -phobiaFear, intolerance
    -scopeInstrument used to examine
    -scopyProcess of examining


    The Exterior Root
    Exterior RootMeaning
    BlepharEyelid
    Carp/oWrist
    Cephal/oHead
    CervicCervix or neck
    CraniSkull
    CubitElbow
    DactylFingers, toes
    Derm/aSkin
    GingivGums in the mouth
    Gloss/oTongue
    Gnath/oJows
    Inguin/oGroin
    Irid/oIris of the eye
    Labi/oLips
    Lapar/oAbdomen
    Mamm/a, mamm/oBreast
    Occul/oEye
    Odont/oTeeth
    Opthalm/0Eyes
    Ot/oEar
    Papill/oNipple
    Pelv/iPelvis
    Phall/oPenis
    Pod/oFoot
    Rhin/oNose
    Steth/oChest
    Stomat/oMouth
    Tal/oAnkle
    Tars/oFoot
    Thorac/oChest/thorax
    TrichHair

    The Interior Root
    Interior RootMeaningExample
    Abdomin/oAbdomenAbdominoplasty: Surgical reconstruction of abdomen
    Angi/oVesselAngioplasty: Surgical reconstruction of a vessel
    Arteri/oArteryArterioplasty: Surgical reconstruction of an artery
    Arthr/oJointArthritis: Inflammation of a joint
    Audi/oHearingAudiometry: Heasring measurement using an audiometer
    Bronch/i, bronch/oBronchus/lungBronchitis: Inflammation of bronchi
    Cardi/oHeartCardiomegaly: Enlargement of heart
    Cholecyst/oGallbladderCholecystectomy: Removal of gallbladder
    Chondr/i, chondr/oCartilageChondromalacia: Softening of cartilage
    Col/oColonColonoscopy: Examination of colon
    Cry/oColdCryotherapy: Using cold temperature to treat
    Cysti, cyst/oBladder, or cystCystitis: Inflammation of bladder
    Cyt/oCellCytology: Study of cells
    Duoden/oDuodenumDuodenotomy: Surgical cutting into the duodenum
    Encephal/oBrainEncephalitis: Inflammation of brain
    Episi/oVulvaEpisiotomy: Surgical cutting of vulva
    Erythr/oRedErythrocytes: Red blood cells
    Esophag/oEsophagusEsophagitis: Inflammation of esophagus
    Galact/oMilkGalactorrhea: Spontaneous flow of milk when nursing
    Gastr/oStomachGastritis: Inflammation of stomach
    Glyc/oSugarGlycosuria: Sugar in the urine
    Gynec/oFemaleGynecologist: Physician who studies and treats diseases of female reproductive organs
    Hemat/o, hem/oBloodHematocyte: Blood cell
    Hepat/oLiverHepatitis: Inflammation of liver
    Heter/oOther, differentHeterosexual: Sexually attracted to the opposite sex
    Hist/o, histi/oTissueHistology: Study and function of tissue
    Hom/o, home/oSame, alikeHomosexual: Sexually attracted to the same sex
    Hydr/oWater, wetHydromassage: Massage by means of moving water
    Hyster/oUterusHysterectomy: Surgical removal of uterus
    Ile/oIleum (intestine)Ileostomy: Artificial opening into the ileum
    Ili/oIlium (pelvic bone)Ilioinguinal: Pertaining to the ilium and inguinal regions
    Jejun/oJejunumJejunitis: Inflammation of jejunum
    LacrimaTearsLacrimatory: Causing a flow of tears
    Laryng/oLarynxLaryngitis: Inflammation of larynx
    Leuk/oWhiteLeukocyte: White blood cell
    Lith/oStone or calculusLithotripsy: Crushing of a stone or calculus
    Men/oMenstruationMenorrhea: Menstrual flow
    Myel/oBone marrow/spinal cordMyelogram: Recording of spinal cord
    My/oMuscleMyositis: Inflammation of a muscle
    Nat/oBirthPrenatal: Before birth
    Necr/oDeathNecrosis: Death of a cell
    Nephr/oKidneyNephrectomy: Surgical removal of a kidney
    Neur/o, neur/iNerveNeurologist: Physician who studies and treats conditions of nervous system
    Oophor/oOvaryOophorectomy: Surgical removal of an ovary
    Orchid/o, orchi/oTestisOrchialgia: Testicular pain
    Peritone/oPeritoneumPeritoneal: Pertaining to the peritoneum
    Pharyng/oPharynxPharyngitis: Inflammation of pharynx (sore throat)
    Pleur/o, pleur/aPleura, rib (side)Pleurisy: Inflammation of lining of chest cavity
    Pneum/o/aLungsPneumonitis: Inflammation of lung
    Proct/oRectum, anusProctologist: Physician who studies and treats diseases of rectum and anus
    Pulmon/oLungsPulmonary: Pertaining to the lungs
    Pyel/oRenal pelvisPyelolithotomy: Removal of a stone from the pelvis or kidney
    Rect/oRectumRectosigmoid: Pertaining to the rectum and sigmoid
    Salping/oFallopian tubeSalpingectomy: Surgical removal of a fallopian tube
    Sarc/oFleshSarcoid: Resembling flesh
    Splen/oSpleenSplenectomy: Surgical removal of spleen
    Tend/oTendonTendinitis (or tendonitis): Inflammation of a tendon
    Testicul/oTestisTesticular: Pertaining to a testis or testicle
    Thorac/oChestThoracotomy: Incision into the chest cavity
    Tonsill/oTonsilsTonsillitis: Inflammation of tonsils
    Ureter/oUreterUreterolithotomy: Removal of a calculus (stone) from a ureter by means of incision
    Urethr/oUrethraUrethritis: Inflammation of urethra
    Vas/oVas deferensVasectomy: Surgical removal of portion of vas deferens for male sterilization
    Viscer/oViscera (organs)Viscerography: Radiography of viscera

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