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C

CADAVER
A term generally applied to a dead human body preserved for anatomical study.
CADAVERIC
A tissue or organ transplanted from a cadaver (deceased donor).
CALLAHAN
Individual wire fixation of a strut bone graft to involved facets.
CALLOSUM
The great commisure of the brain between the cerebral hemispheres.
CAMPTOCORMIA
Severe forward flexion of upper torso, usually an excessive psychologic reaction to back pain.
CANCELLOUS BONE
The spongy or honeycomb structure of some bone tissue typically found at the ends of long bones.
CAPNER
Draining of thoracic spinal abcess through an anterolateral approach.
CARCINOMA
Cancer, a malignant growth of epithelial or gland cells.
CAROTID ARTERY
Large artery on either side of the neck which supplies blood to most of the cerebral hemisphere. Main artery to the head that divides into external and internal carotid arteries.
CAROTID SINUS
Slight dilatation on the common carotid artery at its bifurcation containing nerve cells sensitive to blood pressure. Stimulation can cause slowing of the heart, vasodilatation and a fall in blood pressure.
CAROTID TUBERCLE
Prominence of the transverse process of C-6 felt on the lateral side of the neck.
CARPAL TUNNEL
Space under a ligament in wrist through which the median nerve enters the palm of the hand.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
A condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, characterized especially by discomfort and disturbances of sensation in the hand.
CARRIER
A material or device used to deliver a therapy to a site in or on the body.
CARTILAGE
The hard, thin layer of white glossy tissue that covers the end of bone at a joint. This tissue allows motion to take place with a minimum amount of friction.
CARTILAGE SPACE NARROWING
Narrowing of any cartilage space; also called disc space narrowing.
CATHETER
A small tube used to inject a dye to see the blood vessles, similar to that used for looking at vessels in the heart.
CAUDA EQUINA
The bundle of spinal nerve roots arising from the end of the spinal cord and filling the lower part of the spinal canal(from approximately the thoraco-lumbar junction down).
CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME
Sufficient pressure on the nerves in the low back to produce multiple nerve root irritation and commonly loss of bowel and bladder contraol.
CAUDATE NUCLEUS
Part of the basal ganglia which are brain cells that lie deep in the brain.
CENTRAL CORD SYNDROME
Most common of the incomplete traumatic spinal cord syndromes characterized by motor impairment that is proportionately greater in the upper limbs than in the lower, with baldder dysfunction and a variable degree of sensory loss below the level of the cord lesion.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
Part of the nervous system which consists of the brain and spinal cord, to which sensory impulses are transmitted and from which motor impulses pass out, and which supervises and coordinates the activity of the entire nervous system.
CENTRUM
The body of a vertebra.
CEREBELLUM
The lower part of the brain which is beneath the posterior portion of the cerebrum and regulates unconscious coordination of movement.
CEREBRAL
Relating to the brain or intellect.
CEREBRAL CORTEX
Surface layer of gray matter of the cerebrum that functions chiefly in coordination of higher nervous activity; called also pallium.
CEREBRAL PALSY
Disability resulting from damage to the brain before or during birth and outwardly manifested by muscular incoordination and speech disturbances.
CEREBROSPINAL FLUID (CSF)
Water-like fluid produced in the brain that circulates and protects the brain and spinal cord, known as CSF.
CEREBRUM
The principal portion of the brain, which occupies the major portion of the interior of the skull and controls conscious movement, sensation and thought.
CERVICAL
Of or relating to the neck.
CERVICAL PLEXUS
Plexus of nerves that supply the neck muscles with branches named by muscles supplied, a portion which is called the ansa cervicalis.
CERVICAL RIB
Riblike structure in the seventh cervical vertebra that may cause nerve root irritation.
CERVICAL SPINAL FUSION
Spinal fusion involving the seven cervical segments. This may include the base of the skull, the occiput, and the first thoracic spine.
CHEMONUCLEOLYSIS
A treatment of an intervertebral disc that consists of an injection of chymopapain, a drug that dissolves part of the disc.
CHIASM (OPTIC)
Crossing of visual fibers as they head toward the opposite side of the brain. For each optic nerve most of the visual fibers cross to the opposite side, some run directly backward on each side without crossing.
CHOREA
A disorder, usually of childhood, characterized by irregular, spasmodic involuntary movements of the limbs or facial muscles.
CHOROID PLEXUS
A vascular structure in the ventricles of the brain which produces cerebrospinal fluid.
CINGULATE GYRUS
A long, curved convolution of the medial surface of the cortical hemisphere.
CINGULOTOMY
Electronic destruction of the anterior cingulate gyrus and callosum.
CLINICAL STUDIES
A process of strictly controlled evaluations involving patients. Some of these studies are required by the FDA prior to general release of a device or compound for use in humans.
COAGULATION
The process of clotting.
COBALT-CHROME
A term that is used in referring to cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloy, a mixture of metals used in many surgical implants.
COCCYALGIA
Pain in the coccyx region 5 coccygodynia, coccyodynia, coccydynia.
COCCYGEAL
Remaining three or four, somewhat fixed, fused segments at the end of the spine (tailbone) that articulate with sacrum above.
COCCYGECTOMY
Excision of the coccyx (tailbone).
COCCYGOTOMY
Incision into the coccyx (tailbone).
COCCYX
The small bone at the end of the spinal column in man, formed by the fusion of four rudimentary vertebrae. The three, and sometimes four, segments of bone just below the sacrum; referred to as the tailbone.
COLLAGEN
A fibrous protein which is a major constituent of connective tissue. Such as skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones.
COLLAR
A band, usually denoting one encircling the neck.
COMA
A state of profound unconsciousness from which one cannot be roused.
COMBINED STENOSIS
For congenital or developmental reasons, the midsagittal diameter is decreased.
COMMINUTED FRACTURE
A fracture in which a bone is broken into more than two pieces. Often internal or external fixation devices are used to maintain proper alignment of the fragments.
COMMISSURAL MYELORRHAPY
A longitudinal division of the spinal cord to sever crossing fibers.
COMPENSATORY CURVE
A curve located above or below a rigid structural curve to maintain normal overall body alignment.
COMPRESSION
A squeezing together; the exertion of pressure on a body in such a way as to tend to increase its density; the decrease in a dimension of a body under the action of two external forces directed toward one another in the same straight line.
COMPRESSION of NERVE ROOT
Mechanical process resulting from a tumor, fracture, or herniated disc; the resulting irritation is called radiculitis if there is actual inflammation around the nerve. Pain from this type of disorder is called radicular pain.
COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN
A diagnostic imaging technique in which a computer reads x-rays to create a three-dimensional map of soft tissue or bone.
CONCUSSION
A disruption, usually temporary, of neurological function resulting from a blow or violent shaking.
CONGENITAL SCOLIOSIS
Scoliosis due to bony abnormalities present at birth involving either failure of formation of a vertebra or separation of adjacent vertebrae.
CONSTITUTIONAL STENOSIS
Normal-statured individuals with congenital variance in vertebral structure leading to a narrow canal.
CONTRACT
To shorten; to become reduced in size; in the case of muscle, either to shorten or to undergo an increase in tension.
CONTRAST MEDIUM
Any material (usually opaque to x-rays) employed to delineate or define a structure during a radiologic procedure.
CONTUSION
A bruise; an area in which blood that has leaked out of blood vessels is mixed with brain tissue.
CORDOTOMY
Transverse incision into the spinal cord.
CORONAL SUTURE
The line of junction of the frontal bones and the parietal bones of the skull.
CORPECTOMY
Excision of vertebral body usually combined with interpostion of prosthesis or bone graft.
CORPUS CALLOSUM
The greatest commissure of the brain between the cerebral hemispheres.
CORTEX
The external layer of gray matter covering the hemispheres of the cerebrum and cerebellum.
CORTICAL
Pertaining to the cortex.
CORTICAL BONE
The dense bone that forms the outer surface of bone.
COSTO
Combining form denoting relation to ribs.
COSTOCHONDRAL JUNCTION
Junction of the rib into cartilage in the anterior chest. NOTE: Most of the ribs have attachment to the cartilage rather than a direct junction with the breast bone.
COSTOVERTEBRAL ANGLE
Juncture of tissue inferior and lateral to the twelfth rib and vertebral body.
COSTOVERTEBRAL JOINT
Junction of the rib with the thoracic spine.
COTREL-DUBOUSSET
Posterior fixation device for spinal deformity, fracture, tumor, and degenerative conditions.
CRAMP
A painful muscle spasm caused by prolonged tetanic contraction.
CRANIUM
The part of the skull that holds the brain.
CRANIECTOMY
Opening of skull and removal of a portion of it.
CRANIOPHARYNGIOMA
Congenital tumor arising from the embryonic duct between the brain and pharynx.
CRANIOPLASTY
The operative repair of a defect of the skull.
CRANIOSTENOSIS
Premature closure of cranial sutures, limiting or distorting the growth of the skull.
CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS
Premature closure of cranial sutures, limiting or distorting the growth of the skull.
CRANIOTOMY
Opening of the skull, usually by creating a flap of bone.
CRANKSHAFT PHENOMENON -
Progressions of a spinal curve due to continued growth of the unfused anterior aspect of the spine following a posterior spine fusion for scoliosis in children.
CRICOID RING
Cartilage ring above the tranchea and below the thyroid cartilage, the first cricoid ring is at the level of C-6.
CSF
Cerebrospinal Fluid.
CSF SHUNT
A bypass or diversion of accumulations of cerebrospinal fluid to an absorbing or excreting system.
CT SCAN (computed tomography scan)
A diagnostic imaging technique in which a computer reads x-rays to create a three-dimensional map of soft tissue or bone.
CYTOLOGY
Study of cells.

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  • Published: July 22, 2002
  • Updated: March 17, 2008