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Glossary Terms (S - Z)
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sacral (32.0K)  Relating to or in the area of the sacrum, which is between the hips.
sacrum (27.0K)  A triangular-shaped bone that consists of five fused vertebra.
sagittal (19.0K)  An anatomical term that refers to the plane that divides the body into left and right portions.
salutation (35.0K)  A written greeting, such as “Dear,” used at the beginning of a letter.
sarcolemma (21.0K)  The cell membrane of a muscle fiber.
sarcoplasmic reticulum (35.0K)  The endoplasmic reticulum of a muscle fiber.
SARS severe acute respiratory syndrome (53.0K)  A severe and acute respiratory illness characterized by fever and a nonproductive cough that progresses to the point at which insufficient oxygen is present in the blood.
saturated fat (33.0K)  Fats, derived primarily from animal sources, that are usually solid at room temperature and that tend to raise blood cholesterol levels.
scabies (28.0K)  Skin lesions that are very itchy and caused by a burrowing mite. Scabies is most commonly found between the fingers and on the genitalia.
scanner (30.0K)  An optical device that converts printed matter into a format that can be read by the computer and inputs the converted information.
scapula (17.0K)  Thin, triangularshaped, flat bones located on the dorsal surface of the rib cage; also called shoulder blades.
Schwann cell (37.0K)  A neuroglial cell whose cell membrane coats the axons.
sciatica (18.0K)  Pain in the low back and hip radiating down the back of the leg along the sciatic nerve.
sclera (15.0K)  The tough, outermost layer, or “white,” of the eye, through which light cannot pass; covers all except the front of the eye.
scoliosis (31.0K)  A lateral curvature of the spine, which is normally straight when viewed from behind.
scratch test (28.0K)  An allergy test in which extracts of suspected allergens are applied to the patient’s skin and the skin is then scratched to allow the extracts to penetrate.
screen saver (25.0K)  A program that automatically changes the monitor display at short intervals or constantly shows moving images to prevent burn-in of images on the computer screen.
scrotum (28.0K)  In a male, the sac of skin below the pelvic cavity that contains the testes.
sebaceous (20.0K)  A type of oil gland found in the dermis.
sebum (29.0K)  An oily substance produced by sebaceous glands.
seizure (33.0K)  A series of violent and involuntary contractions of the muscles; also called a convulsion.
sella turcica (24.0K)  A deep depression in the sphenoid bone where the pituitary gland sits.
semen (16.0K)  Sperm and the various substances that nourish and transport them.
semicircular canals (43.0K)  Structures in the inner ear that help a person maintain balance; each of the three canals is positioned at right angles to the other two.
seminal vesicles (31.0K)  A pair of convoluted tubes that lie behind the bladder. These tubes secrete a fluid that provides nutrition for the sperm.
seminiferous tubules (30.0K)  These tubes contain spermatogenic cells and are located in the lobules of the testes.
sensorineural hearing loss (54.0K)  This type of hearing loss occurs when neural structures associated with the ear are damaged. Neural structures include hearing receptors and the auditory nerve.
sensory (17.0K)  Afferent neurons that carry sensory information from the periphery to the central nervous system.
sensory adaptation (37.0K)  A process in which the same chemical can stimulate receptors only for a limited amount of time until the receptors eventually no longer respond to the chemical.
septic shock (28.0K)  A state of shock resulting from massive, widespread infection that affects the blood vessels’ ability to circulate blood.
serosa (17.0K)  The outermost layer of the alimentary canal; also known as the visceral peritoneum.
serous cells (37.0K)  One of two types of cells that make up the salivary glands. These cells secrete a watery fluid that contains amylase.
serum (20.0K)  The clear, yellow liquid that remains after a blood clot forms; it is separated from the clotted elements by centrifugation.
sex chromosome (41.0K)  Chromosome of the 23rd pair.
sex-linked trait (29.0K)  Traits that are carried on the sex chromosomes, or X and Y chromosomes.
sigmoidoscopy (26.0K)  A procedure in which the interior of the sigmoid area of the large intestine, between the descending colon and the rectum, is examined with a sigmoidoscope, a lighted instrument with a magnifying lens.
sign (29.0K)  An objective or external factor, such as blood pressure, rash, or swelling, that can be seen or felt by the physician or measured by an instrument.
simplified letter style (36.0K)  A modification of the full-block style in which the salutation and complimentary closing are omitted and a subject line typed in all capital letters is placed between the address and the body of the letter.
sinoatrial node (26.0K)  A small bundle of heart muscle tissue in the superior wall of the right atrium that sets the rhythm (or pattern) of the heart’s contractions; also called sinus node or pacemaker.
sinusitis (23.0K)  Inflammation of the lining of a sinus.
skinfold test (22.0K)  A method of measuring fat as a percentage of body weight by measuring the thickness of a fold of skin with a caliper.
slitlamp (25.0K)  An instrument composed of a magnifying lens combined with a light source; used to provide a minute examination of the eye's anatomy.
smear (20.0K)  A specimen spread thinly and unevenly across a slide.
SOAP (22.0K)  An approach to medical records documentation that documents information in the following order:S (subjective data), O (objective data), A (assessment), P (plan of action).
software (28.0K)  A program, or set of instructions, that tells a computer what to do.
solution (20.0K)  A homogeneous mixture of a solid, liquid, or gaseous substance in a liquid, such as a dissolved drug in liquid form.
somatic (32.0K)  A division of the peripheral nervous system that connects the central nervous system to skin and skeletal muscle.
SPECT (56.0K)  Single photon emission computed tomography; a radiologic procedure in which a gamma camera detects signals induced by gamma radiation and a computer converts these signals into two- or threedimensional images that are displayed on a screen.
speculum (15.0K)  An instrument that expands the vaginal opening to permit viewing of the vagina and cervix.
spermatids (28.0K)  Immature sperm before they develop their flagella (tails).
spermatocytes (26.0K)  The cells that result when spermatogonia undergo mitosis.
spermatogenesis (34.0K)  The process of sperm cell formation.
spermatogenic cells (34.0K)  The cells that give rise to sperm cells.
spermatogonia (30.0K)  The earliest cell in the process of spermatogenesis.
sphenoid (27.0K)  A bone that forms part of the floor of the cranium.
sphincter (30.0K)  A valve-like structure formed from circular bands of muscle. Sphincters are located around various body openings and passages.
sphygmomanometer (31.0K)  An instrument for measuring blood pressure; consists of an inflatable cuff, a pressure bulb used to inflate the cuff, and a device to read the pressure.
spinal nerves (23.0K)  Peripheral nerves that originate from the spinal cord.
spirillum (25.0K)  A spiralshaped bacterium.
spirometer (30.0K)  An instrument that measures the air taken in and expelled from the lungs.
spirometry (26.0K)  A test used to measure breathing capacity.
splint (20.0K)  A device used to immobilize and protect a body part.
splinting catheter (30.0K)  A type of catheter inserted after plastic repair of the ureter; it must remain in place for at least a week after surgery.
sprain (24.0K)  An injury characterized by partial tearing of a ligament that supports a joint, such as the ankle. A sprain may also involve injuries to tendons, muscles, and local blood vessels and contusions of the surrounding soft tissue.
stain (22.0K)  In microbiology, a solution of a dye or group of dyes that impart a color to microorganisms.
standard (27.0K)  A specimen for which test values are already known; used to calibrate test equipment.
stereoscopy (34.0K)  An xray procedure that uses a specially designed microscope (stereoscopic, or Greenough, microscope) with double eyepieces and objectives to take films at different angles and produce threedimensional images; used primarily to study the skull.
sterile scrub assistant (37.0K)  An assistant who handles sterile equipment during a surgical procedure.
sterilization indicator (28.0K)  A tag, insert, tape, tube, or strip that confirms that the items in an autoclave have been exposed to the correct volume of steam at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time.
sternum (14.0K)  A bone that forms the front and middle portion of the rib cage; also called the breastbone or breast plate.
steroid hormone (33.0K)  A hormone derived from steroids that are soluble in lipids and can cross cell membranes very easily.
stethoscope (17.0K)  An instrument that amplifies body sounds.
strabismus (20.0K)  A condition that results in a lack of parallel visual axes of the eyes; commonly called crossed eyes.
strain (18.0K)  A muscle injury that results from overexertion or overstretching.
stratum basale (24.0K)  The deepest layer of the epidermis of the skin.
stratum corneum (41.0K)  The most superficial layer of the epidermis of the skin.
stress test (21.0K)  A procedure that involves recording an electrocardiogram while the patient is exercising on a stationary bicycle, treadmill, or stair-stepping ergometer, which measures work performed.
striations (22.0K)  Bands produced from the arrangement of filaments in myofibrils in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells.
stroke (23.0K)  A condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is impaired. It may cause temporary or permanent damage.
stylus (29.0K)  A penlike instrument that records electrical impulses on ECG paper.
subarachnoid space (49.0K)  An area between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater.
subcutaneous SC (24.0K)  Under the skin.
subjective (28.0K)  Pertaining to data that is obtained from conversation with a person or patient.
sublingual (27.0K)  Under the tongue.
sublingual gland (26.0K)  The smallest of the salivary glands.
submandibular gland (44.0K)  The gland that is located in the floor of the mouth.
submucosa (20.0K)  The layer of the alimentary canal located between the mucosa and the muscular layer.
sucrose (31.0K)  An enzyme that digests sugars.
sulci (16.0K)  The grooves on the surface of the cerebrum.
superficial (35.0K)  Anatomical term meaning closer to the surface of the body.
superior (20.0K)  Anatomical term meaning above or closer to the head; also called cranial.
supernatant (30.0K)  The liquid portion of a substance from which solids have settled to the bottom, as with a urine specimen after centrifugation.
supination (33.0K)  Turning the palm of the hand upward.
suture (19.0K)  Fibrous joints in the skull. A surgical stitch made to close a wound.
symmetry (23.0K)  The degree to which one side of the body is the same as the other.
sympathetic (40.0K)  A division of the autonomic nervous system that prepares organs for fight-or-flight (stressful) situations.
symptom (22.0K)  A subjective, or internal, condition felt by a patient, such as pain, headache, or nausea, or another indication that generally cannot be seen or felt by the doctor or measured by instruments.
synaptic knob (23.0K)  The end of the axon branch.
synergist (23.0K)  Muscles that help the prime mover by stabilizing points.
systemic circuit (44.0K)  The route that blood takes from the heart through the body and back to the heart.
systolic pressure (23.0K)  The blood pressure measured when the left ventricle of the heart contracts.
T lymphocyte (23.0K)  A type of nongranular leukocyte that regulates immunologic response; includes helper T cells and suppressor T cells.
tachycardia (30.0K)  Rapid heart rate, generally in excess of 100 beats per minute.
tachypnea (15.0K)  Abnormally rapid breathing.
targeted resume (32.0K)  A résumé that is focused on a specific job target.
taste bud (21.0K)  A structure that is made of taste cells (a type of chemoreceptor) and supporting cells.
teletherapy (28.0K)  A radiation therapy technique that allows deeper penetration than brachytherapy; used primarily for deep tumors.
template (35.0K)  A guide that ensures consistency and accuracy.
temporal (16.0K)  Bones that form the lower sides of the skull.
tendon (24.0K)  A cordlike fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone.
terminal (13.0K)  Fatal.
testes (19.0K)  The primary organs of the male reproductive system. Testes produce the hormone testosterone.
testosterone (26.0K)  A hormone produced by the testes that maintains the male reproductive structures and male characteristics such as deep voice, body hair, and muscle mass.
tetanus (20.0K)  A disease caused by clostridium tetani living in the soil and water. More commonly called lockjaw.
thalamus (32.0K)  A subdivision of the diencephalons, this structure acts as a relay station for sensory information heading to the cerebral cortex for interpretation.
therapeutic team (34.0K)  A group of physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and other specialists who work with patients dealing with chronic illness or recovery from major injuries.
thermography (23.0K)  A radiologic procedure in which an infrared camera is used to take photographs that record variations in skin temperature as dark (cool areas),light (warm areas), or shades of gray (areas with temperatures between cool and warm); used to diagnose breast tumors, breast abscesses, and fibrocystic breast disease.
thermotherapy (26.0K)  The application of heat to the body to treat a disorder or injury.
thrombophlebitis (26.0K)  Amedical condition that most commonly occurs in leg veins when a blood clot and inflammation develop.
thrombus (21.0K)  A blood clot that forms on the inside of an injured blood vessel wall.
thymosin (23.0K)  A hormone that promotes the production of certain lymphocytes.
thymus gland (22.0K)  A gland that lies between the lungs. It secretes a hormone called thymosin.
thyroid cartilage (31.0K)  The largest cartilage in the larynx. It forms the anterior wall of the larynx.
thyroid hormone (22.0K)  A hormone produced by the thyroid gland that increases energy production, stimulates protein synthesis, and speeds up the repair of damaged tissue.
thyroid stimulating hormone (40.0K)  A hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to release its hormone.
tibia (36.0K)  The medial bone of the lower leg; commonly called the shin bone.
timed urine specimen (31.0K)  A specimen of a patient’s urine collected over a specific time period.
tinnitus (14.0K)  An abnormal ringing in the ear.
tissue (28.0K)  A structure that is formed when cells of the same type organize together.
topical (19.0K)  Applied to the skin.
tower case (26.0K)  A vertical housing for the system unit of a personal computer.
toxicology (25.0K)  The study of poisons or poisonous effects of drugs.
trachea (13.0K)  The part of the respiratory tract between the larynx and the bronchial tree that is tubular and made of rings of cartilage and smooth muscle; also called the windpipe.
traction (21.0K)  The pulling or stretching of the musculoskeletal system to treat dislocated joints, joints afflicted by arthritis or other diseases, and fractured bones.
trade name (19.0K)  A drug’s brand or proprietary name.
transcription (31.0K)  The transforming of spoken notes into accurate written form.
transcutaneous absorption (48.0K)  Entry (as of a pathogen) through a cut or crack in the skin.
transdermal (26.0K)  A type of topical drug administration that slowly and evenly releases a systemic drug through the skin directly into the bloodstream; a transdermal unit is also called a patch.
transfer (24.0K)  To give something, such as information, to another party outside the doctor’s office.
transverse (23.0K)  Anatomical term that refers to the plane that divides the body into superior and inferior portions.
transverse colon (22.0K)  The segment of the large intestine that crosses the upper abdominal cavity between the ascending and descending colon.
trichinosis (25.0K)  A disease caused by a worm that is usually ingested from undercooked meat.
tricuspid valve (24.0K)  A heart valve that has three cusps and is situated between the right atrium and the right ventricle.
triglyceride (35.0K)  Simple lipids consisting of glycerol (an alcohol) and three fatty acids.
trigone (19.0K)  The triangle formed by the openings of the two ureters and the urethra in the internal floor of the bladder.
trypsin (15.0K)  A pancreatic enzyme that digests proteins.
tubular reabsorption (36.0K)  The second process of urine formation in which the glomerular filtrate flows into the proximal convoluted tubule.
tubular secretion (29.0K)  The third process of urine formation in which substances move out of the blood in the peritubular capillaries into renal tubules.
tutorial (29.0K)  A small program included in a software pakage designed to give users an overall picture of the product and its functions.
tympanic membrane (35.0K)  A fibrous partition located at the inner end of the ear canal and separating the outer ear from the middle ear; also called the eardrum.
tympanic thermometer (33.0K)  A type of electronic thermometer that measures infrared energy emitted from the tympanic membrane.
ulna (13.0K)  The medial bone of the lower arm.
ultrasonic cleaning (49.0K)  A method of sanitization that involves placing instruments in a cleaning solution in a special receptacle that generates sound waves through the cleaning solution, loosening contaminants. Ultrasonic cleaning is safe for even very fragile nstruments.
ultrasound (28.0K)  The noninvasive therapeutic or diagnostic use of ultrasound for examination of internal body structures.
unit price (21.0K)  The total price of a package divided by the number of items that comprise the package.
unsaturated fat (23.0K)  Fats, including most vegetable oils, that are usually liquid at room temperature and tend to lower blood cholesterol.
urea (21.0K)  Waste product formed by the breakdown of proteins and nucleic acids.
ureters (17.0K)  Long, slender, muscular tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder.
urethra (22.0K)  The tube that conveys urine from the bladder during urination.
uric acid (17.0K)  Waste product formed by the breakdown of proteins and nucleic acids.
urinalysis (27.0K)  The physical,chemical, and microscopic evaluation of urine to obtain information about body health and disease.
uterus (22.0K)  A hollow, muscular organ that functions to receive an embryo and sustain its development; also called the womb.
uvula (18.0K)  The part of the soft palate that hangs down in the back of the throat.
vagina (13.0K)  A tubular organ that extends from the uterus to the labia.
vaginitis (22.0K)  Inflammation of the vagina characterized by an abnormal vaginal discharge.
varicose veins (40.0K)  Distended veins that result when vein valves are destroyed and blood pools in the veins, causing these veins to dilate.
vas deferens (36.0K)  A tube that connects the epididymis with the urethra and that carries sperm.
vasectomy (27.0K)  A male sterilization procedure in which a section of each vas deferens is removed.
vasoconstriction (24.0K)  The constriction of the muscular wall of an artery to increase blood pressure.
vasodilation (32.0K)  The widening of the muscular wall of an artery to decrease blood pressure.
venipuncture (23.0K)  The puncture of a vein, usually with a needle, for the purpose of drawing blood.
ventilation (25.0K)  Moving air in and out of the lungs; also called breathing.
ventral (31.0K)  See anterior.
ventral root (20.0K)  A portion of the spinal nerve that contains axons of motor neurons only.
ventricle (30.0K)  Interconnected cavities in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid.
ventricular fibrillation (37.0K)  An abnormal heart rhythm that is the most common cause of cardiac arrest.
verbalizing (15.0K)  Stating what you believe the patient is suggesting or implying.
vermiform appendix (27.0K)  A structure made mostly of lymphoid tissue and projecting off the cecum. It is commonly referred to as simply the appendix.
vesicles (18.0K)  Small sacs within the synaptic knobs that contain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
vestibular glands (28.0K)  Glands that secrete mucus into the vestibule of the female during sexual excitement.
vestibule (14.0K)  The area in the inner ear between the semicircular canals and the cochlea.
vial (20.0K)  A small glass bottle with a self-sealing rubber stopper.
vibrio (19.0K)  A comma-shaped bacterium.
virus (27.0K)  One of the smallest known infectious agents, consisting only of nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat; can live and grow only within the living cells of other organisms.
visceral pericardium (50.0K)  The innermost layer of the pericardium that lies directly on top of the heart; also known as the epicardium.
visceral smooth muscle (28.0K)  A type of smooth muscle containing sheets of muscle that closely contact each other. It is found in the walls of hollow organs such as the stomach, intestines, bladder, and uterus.
vitamin (16.0K)  Organic substances that are essential for normal body growth and maintenance and resistance to infection.
vitreous humor (30.0K)  A jellylike substance that fills the part of the eye behind the lens and helps the eye keep its shape.
volume (20.0K)  The amount of space an object, such as a drug, occupies.
vomer (18.0K)  A thin bone that divides the nasal cavity.
warts (32.0K)  Flesh-colored skin lesions with distinct round borders that are raised and often have small fingerlike projections; also called verruca.
Western blot test (36.0K)  A blood test used to confirm enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test results for HIV infection.
wet mount (24.0K)  A preparation of a specimen in a liquid that allows the organisms to remain alive and mobile while they are being identified.
white matter (31.0K)  The outer tissue of the spinal cord that is lighter in color than gray matter.It contains myelinated axons.
whole blood (26.0K)  The total volume of plasma and formed elements, or blood in which the elements have not been separated by coagulation or centrifugation.
whole-body skin examination (33.0K)  An examination of the visible top layer of the entire surface of the skin, including the scalp, genital area, and areas between the toes, to look for lesions, especially suspicious moles or precancerous growths.
Woods light examination (47.0K)  A type of dermatologic examination in which a physician inspects the patient’s skin under an ultraviolet lamp in a darkened room.
xeroradiography (35.0K)  A radiologic procedure in which xrays are developed with a powder toner, similar to the toner in photocopiers, and the x-ray image is processed on specially treated xerographic paper; used to diagnose breast cancer, abscesses, lesions, or calcifications.
xiphoid process (37.0K)  The lower extension of the breastbone.
yeast (20.0K)  A fungus that grows mainly as a single-celled organism and reproduces by budding.
yolk sac (17.0K)  The sac that holds the materials for the nutrition of the embryo.
zona pellucida (31.0K)  A layer that surrounds the cell membrane of an egg.
Z-track method (33.0K)  A technique used when injecting an intramuscular (IM) drug that can irritate subcutaneous tissue; involves pulling the skin and subcutaneous tissue to the side before inserting the needle at the site, creating a zigzag path in the tissue layers that prevents the drug from leaking into the subcutaneous tissue and causing irritation.
zygomatic (16.0K)  The bones that form the prominence of the cheeks.
zygote (14.0K)  The cell that is formed from the union of the egg and sperm.

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