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If diagnosis so indicates, treatment, also termed therapy, is begun. This may consist of counseling, drugs, surgery, radiation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric treatment, or a combination of these. See Chapter 8 for a discussion of drugs and their actions. During diagnosis and throughout the course of treatment, a patient is evaluated to establish a prognosis, that is, a prediction of the outcome of the disease.

Box 7-1 Terminology Evolves With Medical Science

The science of medicine never stands still, nor does its terminology. One can never say that his or her work in learning medical terminology is complete because vocabulary is constantly being added as new diagnoses, treatments, and technologies are discovered or developed.

A generation ago, gene therapy, genetic engineering, in vitro fertilization, cloning, and stem cell research were unknown to the public. PET scans, MRI, DNA fingerprinting, radio immuno-assay, bone density scans for identifying osteoporosis, and other diagnostic techniques were not in use. Some of the new categories of drugs, such as statins for reducing cholesterol, antiviral agents, histamine antagonists for treating ulcers, ACE inhibitors for treating hypertension, and breast cancer preventives were undiscovered. The genes associated with certain forms of cancer and with certain hereditary abnormalities had yet to be isolated.

Each of these advances brings new terminology into use. Anyone who wants to keep current with medical terminology has a lifetime of learning ahead.

FIGURE 7-6. Use of a bronchoscope, a type of endoscope.

FIGURE 7-6. Use of a bronchoscope, a type of endoscope.

Medical Terminology Images

DISPLAY 7-1 Imaging Techniques



cinerad i ography (sin-e-ra-de-OG-ra-fe)

making of a motion picture of successive images appearing on a fluoroscopic screen

computed tomography (C T, CT scan) (to-MOG-ra-fe)

use of a computer to generate an image from a large number of x-rays passed at different angles through the body; a three-dimensional picture of a cross-section of the body is obtained; reveals more about soft tissues than does simple radiography (Fig. 7-7)

flu oroscopy (flu-ROS-ko-pe)

use of x-rays to examine deep structures; the shadows cast by x-rays passed through the body are observed on a fluorescent screen; the device used is called a fluoroscope

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

production of images through the use of a magnetic field and radio waves; the characteristics of soft tissue are revealed by differences in molecular properties; eliminates the need for x-rays and contrast media

positron emission tomography (PET)

production of sectional body images by administration of a natural substance, such as glucose, labeled with a positron-emitting isotope; the rays subsequently emitted are interpreted by computer to show the internal distribution of the substance administered; PET has been used to follow blood flow through an organ and to measure metabolic activity within an organ, such as the brain, under different conditions

ra diography (ra-de-OG-ra-fe)

use of x-rays passed through the body to make a visual record (radiograph) of internal structures on specially sensitized film

scintigraphy (sin-TIG-ra-fe)

production of an image of the distribution of radioactivity in tissues after internal administration of a radioactive substance (radionuclide); the images are obtained with a scintillation camera; the record produced is a scintiscan (SIN-ti-skan) and usually specifies the part examined or the isotope used for the test, as in bone scan, gallium scan

single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)

scintigraphic technique that permits visualization of the cross-sectional distribution of a radioisotope

ultrasonography (ul-tra-son-OG-ra-fe)

generation of a visual image from the echoes of high-frequency soun d waves traveling back from different tissues; also called sonography (so-NOG-ra-fe) and echography (ek-OG-ra-fe) (Fig. 7-8)

Lippincott Radiology 101
FIGURE 7-7. CT scan of a normal adult human brain. (Reprinted with permission from Erkonen WE, Smith WL. Radiology 101: Basics and Fundamentals of Imaging. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998.)


Surgery is a method for treating disease or injury by manual operations. Surgery may be done through an existing body opening, but usually it involves cutting or puncturing tissue with a sharp instrument in the process of incision. (See Display 7-2 for descriptions of surgical instruments and Figure 7-9 for pictures of surgical instruments.) Some form of anesthesia to dull or eliminate pain is usually required. After surgery, incisions must be closed for proper healing. Conventionally, this is done using stitches or sutures, but adhesive strips, staples, and skin glue also are used.

Pregnant Women Weeks With 4th Child

FIGURE 7-8. Use of ultrasound during pregnancy. (Reprinted with permission from Pillitteri A. Maternal and Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family. 4th Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003).

Many types of operations are now performed using a laser beam. This is an intense beam of light that can be used for surgery and for diagnosis. Some procedures require destruction of tissue by a harmful agent, such as by heat or a chemical, in the process of cautery or cauterization.

Some of the purposes of surgery include:

• Treatment: For excision (cutting out) of diseased or abnormal tissue, such as a tumor or an inflamed appendix. Surgical methods are also used to repair wounds or injuries, as in skin grafting for burns or realigning broken bones. Surgical methods are used to correct circulatory problems and to return structures to their normal position, as in raising a prolapsed organ, such as the bladder, in a surgical fixation procedure.

• Diagnosis: To remove tissue for laboratory study in a biopsy, as described above. Exploratory surgery to investigate the cause of symptoms is performed less frequently now because of advances in non-invasive diagnostic and imaging techniques.

• Restoration: Surgery may compensate for lost function, as when a section of the intestine is redirected in a colostomy, a tube is inserted to allow breathing in a tracheostomy, a feeding tube is inserted, or an organ is transplanted. Plastic or reconstructive surgery may be done to accommodate a prosthesis, to restore proper appearance, or for cosmetic reasons.

• Relief: Palliative treatment is any therapy that provides relief but is not intended as a cure. Surgery is done to relieve pain or discomfort, as by cutting the nerve supply to an organ or reducing the size of a tumor to relieve pressure.

Surgery may be done in an emergency or urgent situation under conditions of acute danger, as in traumatic injury or severe blockage. Other procedures, such as cataract removal from the eye, may be planned when convenient. Elective or optional surgery would not cause serious consequences if delayed or not done.

Over time, surgery has extended beyond the classic operating room of a hospital to other hospital areas and to private surgical facilities where people can be treated within 1 day as outpatients. Preoperative care is given before surgery and includes examination, obtaining the patient's informed consent for the procedure, and preadmission testing. Postoperative care includes recovery from anesthesia, follow-up evaluations, and instructions for home care.

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  • edgar
    What does vitr/o in medical terminology?
    8 years ago
  • Mulu
    Which imaging technique reveals more about soft tissues than simple radiography does?
    8 years ago
  • mathew
    What imaging technique reveals more about soft tissue than simple radiography does?
    6 years ago

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