Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis is a set of laboratory tests that examine a sample of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This fluid is an ultrafiltrate of plasma.

Cervical Cerclage

A cervical cerclage is a minor surgical procedure in which the opening to the uterus (the cervix) is stitched closed in order to prevent a miscarriage or premature birth.

Cervical Cryotherapy

Cervical cryotherapy is a procedure which involves freezing an area of abnormal tissue on the cervix. This tissue gradually disappears and the cervix heals.

Cesarean Section

A cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman's abdomen and uterus to deliver her baby.

Chest Tube Insertion

A chest tube insertion is a procedure to place a flexible, hollow drainage tube into the chest in order to remove an abnormal collection of air or fluid from the pleural space (located between the inner and outer lining of the lung).

Chest X Ray

A chest x ray is a procedure used to evaluate organs and structures within the chest for symptoms of disease. Chest x rays include views of the lungs, heart, small portions of the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland, and the bones of the chest area.


A cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. The two basic types of this procedure are open cholecystectomy and the laparoscopic approach.


The surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis, or prepuce of the clitoris.

Cleft Lip Repair

Cleft lip repair (cheiloplasty) is surgical procedure to correct a groove-like defect in the lip.

Club Foot Repair

Club foot repair, also known as foot tendon release or club foot release, is the surgical repair of a birth defect of the foot and ankle called club foot.

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device used to treat severe to profound hearing loss. It is surgically implanted underneath the skin behind the patient's ear.

Collagen Periurethral Injection

Collagen periurethral injection is a procedure in which collagen is injected around the urethra and bladder neck as a treatment for stress incontinence in women.


Colonoscopy is an endoscopic medical procedure that uses a long, flexible, lighted tubular instrument called a colonoscope to view the rectum and the entire inner lining of the colon (large intestine).

Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal surgery repairs damage to the colon, rectum, and anus through a variety of procedures that may have little or great long-term consequence to the patient. It may also involve surgery to the pelvic floor to repair hernias.


A colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings a portion of the large intestine through the abdominal wall to carry feces out of the body.


Colporrhaphy is the surgical repair of a defect in the vaginal wall, including a cystocele (when the bladder protrudes into the vagina) and a rectocele (when the rectum protrudes into the vagina).


Colposcopy is a procedure that allows a physician to examine a woman's cervix and vagina using a special microscope called a colposcope. It is used to check for precancerous or abnormal areas.


A colpotomy, also known as a vaginotomy, is a procedure by which an incision is made in the vagina.

Complete Blood Count

A complete blood count (CBC) is a series of tests used to evaluate the composition and concentration of the cellular components of blood. It consists of the following tests: red blood cell (RBC) count, white blood cell (WBC) count, and platelet count; measurement of hemoglobin and mean red cell volume; classification of white blood cells (WBC differential); and calculation of hematocrit and red blood cell indices.

Cone Biopsy

A cone biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a cone-shaped tissue sample from the cervix is removed for examination. Also called cervical conization, a cone biopsy is done to diagnose cervical cancer or to remove cancerous or precancerous tissue.

Corneal Transplantation

In corneal transplant, also known as keratoplasty, a patient's damaged cornea is replaced by the cornea from the eye of a human cadaver. This is the most common type of human transplant surgery and has the highest success rate.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a surgical procedure in which one or more blocked coronary arteries are bypassed by a blood vessel graft to restore normal blood flow to the heart. These grafts usually come from the patient's own arteries and veins located in the leg, arm, or chest.

Coronary Stenting

A coronary stent is an artificial support device placed in the coronary artery to keep the vessel open after treatment for coronary artery disease. Also called atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease is a build-up of fatty matter and debris on the walls of the arteries.

Corpus Callosotomy

Corpus callosotomy is a treatment for epilepsy, in which a group of fibers connecting the two sides of the brain, called the corpus callosum, is cut.


Corticosteroids are a group of natural and synthetic analogs (chemical cousins) of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, also known as the hypothalamic-anterior pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. These analogs include glucocorticoids, which are anti-inflammatory agents with a large number of other functions; mineralocorticoids, which control salt and water balance primarily through action on the kidneys; and corticotropins, which control secretion of hormones by the pituitary gland.

Craniofacial Reconstruction

Craniofacial reconstruction refers to a group of procedures used to repair or reshape the face and skull of a living person, or to create a replica of the head and face of a dead or missing person. The word "craniofacial" is a combination of "cranium," which is the medical word for the upper portion of the skull, and facial.


A craniotomy is a procedure to remove a lesion in the brain through an opening in the skull (cranium).


Cricothyroidotomy is usually regarded as an emergency surgical procedure in which a surgeon or other trained person cuts a hole through a membrane in the patient's neck into the windpipe in order to allow air into the lungs. Cricothyroidotomy is a subtype of surgical procedure known as a tracheotomy; in some situations, it is considered an elective alternative to other types of tracheotomy.


Cryotherapy is a technique that uses an extremely cold liquid or instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal skin cells that require removal. The technique has been in use since the turn of the century, but modern techniques have made it widely available to dermatologists and primary care doctors.

Cryotherapy for Cataracts

Cryosurgery, or cryotherapy, is a technique that destroys abnormal tissue by freezing the cells. Cryotherapy can be used in the treatment of cataracts.

CT Scans

Computed tomography (CT) scans are completed with the use of a 360-degree x-ray beam and computer production of images. These scans allow for cross-sectional views of body organs and tissues.

Curettage and Electrosurgery

Curettage is the surgical removal of growths or tissue from the wall of a body cavity or other surface, using a spoon-like instrument with a sharp edge called a curette. Electrosurgery is a procedure that cuts, destroys, or cauterizes tissue using a high-frequency electric current applied locally with a pencil-shaped metal instrument or needle.


Cyclocryotherapy (CCT) is a procedure that employs temperatures as low as -112°F (-80°C) to destroy the ciliary body, an organ in the anterior chamber of the eye behind For cyclocryotherapy, the patient's eyelids are first retracted (A). A cryoprobe is applied to the outside of the eyeball in the area surrounding the iris (B).


Cystectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the urinary bladder, the muscular organ that collects urine from the kidneys for excretion at a later time. Partial or segmental cystectomy removes part of the bladder; simple cystectomy removes the entire bladder; and radical cystectomy removes the bladder as well as other pelvic organs or structures.

Cystocele Repair

A cystocele is the protrusion or prolapse of the bladder into the vagina. A number of surgical interventions are available to treat cystoceles.


Cystoscopy (cystourethroscopy) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a cystoscope, which is an endoscope especially designed for urological use to examine the bladder, lower urinary tract, and prostate gland. It can also be used to collect urine samples, perform biopsies, and remove small stones.

Death and Dying

Death is the end of life, a permanent cessation of all vital functions. Dying refers to the body's preparation for death, which may be very short in the case of accidental death, or can last weeks or months in some patients such as those with cancer.


Debridement is the process of removing dead (necrotic) tissue or foreign material from and around a wound to expose healthy tissue.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) delivers a constant low electrical stimulation to a small region of the brain, through implanted electrodes connected to an implanted battery. It is used to partially restore normal movements in Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia.


Defibrillation is a process in which an electrical device called a defibrillator sends an electric shock to the heart to stop an arrhythmia resulting in the return of a productive heart rhythm.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are surgically fixed substitutes for roots of missing teeth. Embedded in the jawbone, they act as anchors for a replacement tooth, also known as a crown, or a full set of replacement teeth.


Dermabrasion is a procedure to improve the look of the skin involving the mechanical removal of the damaged top layer using a high speed rotary wheel.

Dilatation and Curettage

Dilatation and curettage (D & C) is a gynecological procedure in which the cervix is dilated (expanded) and the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is scraped away.

Discharge from the Hospital

Discharge from the hospital is the point at which the patient leaves the hospital and either returns home or is transferred to another facility such as one for rehabilitation or to a nursing home. Discharge involves the medical instructions that the patient will need to fully recover.

Disk Removal

Disk removal is one of the most common types of back surgery. Diskectomy (also called discectomy) is the removal of an intervertebral disk, the flexible plate that connects any two adjacent vertebrae in the spine.


Diuretics are medicines that help reduce the amount of water in the body.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order

Do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a part of advanced medical directives allowed by federal law passed in 1991, expanding the notion of patient autonomy to situations in which they may not be able to make crucial medical decisions due to incapacitation. It instructs medical personnel not to perform life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other procedures to restart the heart or breathing once they have ceased.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgery

Ear, nose, and throat surgery is the the surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, or deformations of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck areas.


Echocardiography is a diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to produce an image of the heart muscle and the heart's valves.

Elective Surgery

An elective surgery is a planned, non-emergency surgical procedure. It may be either medically required (e.g., cataract surgery), or optional (e.g., breast augmentation or implant) surgery.


Electrocardiography is a commonly used, noninvasive procedure for recording electrical changes in the heart. The record, which is called an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), shows the series of waves that relate to the electrical impulses that occur during each beat of the heart.


Electroencephalography, or EEG, is a neurological test that involves attaching electrodes to the head of a person to measure and record electrical activity in the brain over time.

Electrolyte Tests

Electrolytes are positively and negatively charged molecules called ions, that are found within the body's cells and extracellular fluids, including blood plasma. A test for electrolytes includes the measurement of sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate.

Electrophysiology Study of the Heart

An electrophysiology study (EPS) of the heart is a test performed to analyze the electrical activity of the heart. The test uses cardiac catheters and sophisticated computers to generate electrocardiogram (EKG) tracings and electrical measurements with exquisite precision from within the heart chambers.

Emergency Surgery

Emergency surgery is non-elective surgery performed when the patient's life or well-being is in direct jeopardy. Largely performed by surgeons specializing in emergency medicine, this surgery can be conducted for many reasons but occurs most often in urgent or critical cases in response to trauma, cardiac events, poison episodes, brain injuries, and pediatric medicine.

Endolymphatic Shunt

An endolymphatic shunt is a surgical procedure in which a very small silicone tube is placed in the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear to drain excess fluid.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an imaging technique used to diagnose diseases of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. It combines endoscopy and x-ray imaging.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that opens up sinus air cells and sinus ostia (openings) with an endoscope.

Endotracheal Intubation

Endotracheal intubation is the placement of a tube into the trachea (windpipe) in order to maintain an open airway in patients who are unconscious or unable to breathe on their own. Oxygen, anesthetics, or other gaseous medications can be delivered through the tube.

Endovascular Stent Surgery

Endovascular stent surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses advanced technology and instrumentation to treat such disorders of the circulatory system as blockage or damage to blood vessels caused by the build up of plaque (fatty deposits, calcium deposits, and scar tissue) in the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The surgeon may recommend the placement of an endovascular stent, a small wire-mesh tube that surgeons call a scaffold, in an affected artery.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation

Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive procedure in which a set of inflatable cuffs (much like blood pressure cuffs) mechanically compress the blood vessels in the patient's lower limbs to increase blood flow in the coronary arteries of the heart. The blood pressure cuffs are wrapped around the patient's calves, thighs, and buttocks.

Enucleation, Eye

Enucleation is the surgical removal of the eyeball that leaves the eye muscles and remaining orbital contents intact.

Epidural Therapy

An epidural is a local (regional) anesthetic delivered through a catheter (small tube) into a vacant space outside the spinal cord called the epidural space.


An episiotomy is a surgical incision made in the perineum, the area between the vagina and anus. Episiotomies are done during the second stage of labor to expand the opening of the vagina to prevent tearing of the area during the delivery of the baby.


Erythromycins are medicines that kill bacteria or prevent their growth.

Esophageal Atresia Repair

Esophageal atresia repair, also known as tracheoesophageal fistula or TEF repair, is a surgical procedure performed to correct congenital defects of the esophagus (the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) and the trachea (the windpipe that carries air into the lungs). Esophageal atresia (EA) and tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) are commonly found together (EA/TEF), but may also occur separately.

Esophageal Function Tests

The esophagus is the muscular tube through which food passes on its way from the mouth to the stomach. The main function of the esophagus is to propel food into the stomach.

Esophageal Resection

An esophageal resection is the surgical removal of the esophagus, nearby lymph nodes, and sometimes a portion of the stomach. The esophagus is a hollow muscular tube that passes through the chest from the mouth to the stomach—a "foodpipe" that carries food and liquids to the stomach for digestion and nutrition.


An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), which is also known as an upper endoscopy or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a diagnostic procedure that is performed to view the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of the small intestine). In an EGD, the doctor uses an endoscope, a flexible, tube-like, telescopic instrument with a tiny camera mounted at its tip, to examine images of the upper digestive tract displayed on a monitor in the examination room.

Essential Surgery

Essential surgery is an operative procedure that is considered to be vitally necessary for treating a disease or injury. Postponing or deciding against an essential procedure may result in a patient's death or permanent impairment.


Exenteration is a major operation during which all the contents of a body cavity are removed. Pelvic exenteration refers to the removal of the pelvic organs and adjacent structures; orbital exenteration refers to the removal of the entire eyeball, orbital soft tissues, and some or all of the eyelids.


The Surgeon General of the United States defines exercise as physical activity that involves planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movements in order to improve or maintain physical fitness. As an element of health, exercise involves both strength training of the muscles and cardiovascular fitness, with stretching activities for flexibility.

Extracapsular Cataract Extraction

Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) is a category of eye surgery in which the lens of the eye is removed while the elastic capsule that covers the lens is left partially intact to allow implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL). This approach is contrasted with intracapsular cataract extraction (ICCE), an older procedure in which the surgeon removed the complete lens within its capsule and left the eye aphakic (without a lens).

Eye Muscle Surgery

Eye muscle surgery is performed to weaken, strengthen, or reposition any of the extraocular muscles (small muscles) located on the surface of the eye that move the eyeball in all directions.

Face Lift

Face-lift surgery is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing sagging skin and tightening muscle tissue of the face and neck to counter signs of aging. The procedure is also called facialplasty, rhytidoplasty, and cervicofacial rhytidectomy.


Fasciotomy is a surgical procedure that cuts away the fascia to relieve tension or pressure.

Femoral Hernia Repair

A femoral hernia repair, or herniorraphy is a surgical procedure performed to reposition tissue that has come out through a weak point in the abdominal wall near the groin. In general, a hernia is a protrusion of a loop or piece of tissue through a weak spot or opening in the abdominal wall.

Fetal Surgery

Fetal surgery allows doctors to treat certain abnormalities of the fetus that might otherwise be fatal or cause significant problems if permitted to progress.


Fetoscopy is a procedure that utilizes an instrument called a fetoscope to evaluate or treat the fetus during pregnancy.

Fibrin Sealants

Fibrin sealants are a type of surgical tissue adhesive derived from human and animal blood products. The ingredients in these sealants interact during application to form a stable clot composed of a blood protein called fibrin.