ABBOTT METHOD – For scoliosis of the spine; traction is applied to produce overcorrection, followed by casting.

ABDOMINAL MUSCLES – Important for support of the spine, these muscles are the rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, and transversus.

ABDUCTION – Movement away from midline of body in frontal plane; applied to hip, shoulder, fingers, thumb, and foot.

ABRASION – Any superficial scraping of skin tissue or mucous membrane mechanically or through injury.

ABSCESS – Localized collection of pus in a cavity which may form in any tissue.

ACHONDROPLASTIC STENOSIS – Increased vertebral thickness, marked concavity of the vertebral body, and shortened pedicles.

ACOUSTIC NEURINOMAS – Benign tumor of the hearing nerve (eighth nerve). A progressively enlarging, benign tumor, usually within the internal auditory canal or hearing nerve.

ACROMEGALY – Disorder marked by progressive enlargement of the head, face, hands, feet, and thorax, due to the excessive secretion of growth hormone.

ACTION TREMOR – A type of tremor that occurs during voluntary movements, such as lifting a cup to one’s mouth.

ACTIVA TREMOR CONTROL THERAPY – The therapy uses an implanted device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to block the brain signals that cause tremor. The therapy stimulates the target nuclei in the thalamus via an insulated wire lead with electrodes that are surgically implanted in the brain and connected to a pulse generator that is implanted near the collarbone. The stimulation level can be adjusted to get the most possible tremor control with minimal side effects.

ACUTE – Severe, for a short time.

ADENOCARCINOMA – Cancer arising from secretory cells, often in a gland. Breast and pancreatic cancers are usually adenocarcinomas.

ADENOMA – A benign growth formed of glandular tissue.

ADOLESCENT SCOLIOSIS – Lateral curvature of the spine occurring during adolescence.

ADULT SCOLIOSIS – Scoliosis occuring after skeletal maturity.

AEBI, ETTER, AND COSICA – Anterior approach to inferior C-2 to fractured dens with screws.

AEDs – Antiepileptic drugs.

AFFERENT NEURON – Transmitting impulses to the central nervous system.

AGNOSIA – Absence of the ability to recognize the form and nature of persons and things.

AGRAPHIA – Loss of the power of writing due either to muscular incoordination or to an inability to phrase thought.

ALAR DYSGENESIS – Abnormality in development of the sacroiliac joint.

ALBEE – Fusion of the spine using grafts across the spinous processes in spondylolisthesis.

ALLOGRAFT BONE – Sterile bone derived from another human which is used for grafting procedures.

AMAUROSIS – Loss of vision without discoverable lesion in the eye structures or optic nerve. Amaurosis fugax – temporary blindness occurring in short periods.

AMENORRHEA – Absence of the menses due to causes other than pregnancy or advancing age.

AMNESIA – Loss of memory caused by brain damage or by severe emotional trauma.

ANALGESIA – Loss of sensibility to pain, loss of response to a painful stimulus.

ANAPLASIA – In the case of a body cell, a reversion to a more primitive condition. A term used to denote the alteration in cell character which constitutes malignancy.

ANASTOMOSIS – A communication, direct or indirect: A joining together. In the nervous system a jointing of nerves or blood vessels.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST – Physician who administers pain-killing medications during surgery.

ANENCEPHALY – Absence of the greater part of the brain, often with skull deformity.

ANESTHESIA – Loss of sensation of a body part; or of the body when induced by the administration of a drug.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST – Physician who administers pain-killing medications during surgery.

ANEURYSM – Dilation of an artery, formed by a circumscribed enlargement of its wall. Saccular (berry) aneurysm – sac-like bulging on one side of an artery usually arising at an arterial branching.

ANGIOGRAM – A study which shows the blood vessels leading to and in the brain by injecting a dye or contrast substance through a catheter placed in the artery in the leg.

ANGIOMA – A tumor whose cells tend to form blood vessels (hemangioma) or lymph vessels (lymphangioma).

ANGIOGRAPHY – Radiography of blood vessels using the injection of material opaque to x-rays to give better definition to the vessels.

ANISOSPONDYLY – Different abnormal shapes of the vertebral bodies.

ANKYLOSING SPINAL HYPEROSTOSIS – Arthritic disorder in which bridgingosteophytes located anteriorly and posteriorly on the vertebral body bind two or more vertebrae together; Forestier disease.

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS – stiffening or fixation of the vertebra; an inflammatory joint disease mainly affecting the spine hips, and pelvis.

ANNULUS FIBROSUS – The outer, fibrous, ring-like portion of an intervertebral disc.

ANOREXIA – Loss of appetite; a condition marked by loss of appetite leading to weight loss.

ANOSMIC – Without the sense of smell.

ANOXIA – Total lack of oxygen supply.

ANTERIOR – Front of the body or situated nearer the front of the body.

ANTERIOR APPROACH – When used to approach the cervical, cervicodorsal, dorsal, and lumbar spines, it is designed to provide sufficient surface for multiple segmental spinal fusions; Hodgson, Roaf. For specific cervical spinal explorations and fusions; Southwick and Robinson, Bailey and Badgley, Whitesides and kelly, Henry (to vertebral artery).

ANTERIOR CERVICAL DISCECTOMY – an operation where the cervical spine is reached through a small incision in the front of your neck. After the soft tissues of the neck are separated, the intervertebral disc and bone spurs are removed.

ANTERIOR CERVICAL DISCECTOMY WITH FUSION – an operation performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots, or on the spinal cord. The term is derived from the words anterior (front), cervical (neck), and fusion (joining the vertebrae with a bone graft).

ANTERIOR DISPLACEMENT – Forward movement of the superior segment on the inferior one.

ANTERIOR LUMBAR INTERBODY FUSION (ALIF) – operation where the lumbar spine is approached through an incision in the abdomen. A portion of the affected disc space is removed from the spine and replaced with an implant.

ANTERIOR SPINAL FUSION – Approaching the spine from the front, the intervertable disc and/or vertebral body is removed and bone graft is inserted. Some variations of this procedure include the Smith-Robinson, Cloward and dowel procedures.

ANTERIOR SPURRING – Ligament turning to bone on anterior side of vertebral body.

ANTEROLATERAL – Situated or occurring in front of and to the side.

ANEROLATERAL APPROACH – An approach to the dorsal spine by rib resection to explore the spine anteriorly and in some cases to do spinal fusions and decompressions spinal cord.

ANTI-COAGULANT – A medication that prevents coagulation of the blood.

ANTIDIURETIC – An agent which reduces the output of urine. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) is formed in the hypothalamus and stored in the posterior pituitary gland. Its secretion reduces urine output.

AO FIXATEUR INTERNE – A posteriorly placed spinal fixation device.

APHASIA – Difficulty with, or loss of use of language, in any of several ways including reading, writing or speaking. Failure of understanding of the written, printed or spoken word not related to intelligence but to specific lesions in the brain.

APNEA – Cessation of respiration; inability to get one’s breath.

APOPLEXY – A sudden event. Often used as equivalent to stroke.

ARACHNOID – Middle layer of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

ARACHNOIDITIS – Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane, most commonly seen within the spinal cord around the spinal cord and cauda equina.

AREA – (Cortical) – A part of the brain having a special function as in

  • Motor a. – The cortical portion of the brain controlling movement.
  • Sensory a. – The cortical portion, controlling sensation.

ARNOLD-CHIARI MALFORMATION – A condition in which there is displacement of the medulla and cerebellum into the opening in the basilar part of the occipital bone. It is one of the causes of hydrocephalus and is usually accompanied by spina bifida and menigomyelocele.

ARTERIOGRAPHY – See angiography.

ARTERIOSCLEROSIS – Thickening and calcification of the arterial wall with loss of elasticity and contractility.

ARTERIOVENOUS – Relating to both arteries and veins.

ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION – Collection of blood vessels with one or several abnormal communications between arteries and veins which may cause hemorrhage or seizures.

ARTERY of ADAMKIEWICZ – An important source of blood supply to the lower portion of the spine, usually occurring at T-9 to T-11 level; however, not the only blood supply to the cord at that level.

ARTHRALGIA – Joint pain.

ARTHRITIS – Inflammation of a joint usually characterized by swelling, pain and restriction of motion.

ARTHRODESIS – The fusion of bones across a joint space, thereby limiting or eliminating movement. It may occur spontaneously or as a result of a surgical procedure, such as fusion of the spine.

ARTHROPATHY – Any disease or disorder involving a joint.

ARTHROPLASTY – The surgical remodeling of a diseased or damaged joint.

ARTHROSCOPE – An instrument inserted into it’s joint cavity to view the interior of a joint and correct certain abnormalities. An arthroscope is an endoscope for use in a joint.

ARTHROSCOPY – The procedure of visualizing the inside of a joint by means of an arthroscope.

ARTICULAR – Pertaining to a joint.

ASTROCYTE – Cell which supports the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain and spinal cord.

ASTROCYTOMA – Tumor within the substance of the brain or spinal cord made up of astrocytes – often classified from Grade I (slow-growing) to Grade III (rapid-growing).

ATAXIA – A loss of muscular coordination, abnormal clumsiness.

ATHETOSIS – A condition in which there is a succession of slow, writhing, involuntary movements of the fingers and hands, and sometimes of the toes and feet.

ATLANTO-AXIAL –Pertaining to the atlas and the axis; denoting the joint between the first two cervical vertebrae.

ATLANTO-EPISTRPHIC – See atlanto-axial.

ATLANTO-OCCIPITAL – Relating to the atlas and the occipital bone.

ATLANTO-ODONTOID – Relating to the atlas and the dens of the axis.

ATLAS – First cervical vertebrae, articulating with the occipital bone and rotating around the dens of the axis.

ATONIC SEIZURE – Seizures that are characterized by a sudden loss of muscle tone, causing the individual to instantly drop to the floor, commonly known as “drop attacks.”

ATROPHY – A wasting of the tissues of a body part.

AURA – Warning sign that people with epilepsy often experience prior to the onset of a seizure, which may consist of a strange taste, bad feeling, or tingling sensation.

AUTOGENOUS BONE – Bone originating from the same individual; i.e., an individual’s own bone.

AUTOGRAFT BONE – Bone transplanted from one part to another part of the body in the same individual.

AUTOLOGUS – a graft in which the donor and recipient area are in the same individual.

AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM – Involuntary nervous system, also termed the vegetative nervous system. A system of nerve cells whose activities are beyond voluntary control.

AVASCULAR – Non-vascular, not provided with blood vessels.

AVM (ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION) – Deformity, abnormal shape or structure relating to veins and arteries.

AXIS – The vertebral column. The second cervical vertebra, about which the first cervical vertebra rotates, allowing head movement.

AXON – The part of a nerve cell that usually sends signals to other nerves or structures.