Radiology Terminology

Deciphering Radiology One Term at a Time

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are 61 names in this directory beginning with the letter P.
pack-years
A measure of an individual's cigarette smoking history calculated by multiplying the number of cigarette packs smoked per day by the number of years the individual has smoked.
Paget disease
A genetic or viral condition characterized by excessive breakdown and formation of bone tissue that can lead to enlarged or misshapen bones.
palliative treatment
Treatment designed to relieve or control symptoms rather than to cure disease.
palpable
1. Able to be felt; perceptible to touch 2. Evident; plain
pancreatography
An imaging examination of the pancreatic ducts. For x-ray pancreatography, the examination requires direct injection of contrast material into the pancreatic ducts. For MRI, pancreatography is performed without a direct contrast material injection, however an intravenous injection of contrast material may be used.
papilloma
A tumor, usually benign, that may appear on a mucous membrane or the surface of the skin.
paranasal
Alongside the nose.
parathyroid glands
Typically four small raisin-sized glands in the neck primarily involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.
partial colectomy
Removal of part of the colon.
patency
The state of being freely open or exposed.
pathologic
Morbid or diseased; resulting from disease.
pathologist
A physician specializing in the examination of cells and tissues.
pathology
The study of disease processes.
penetrating injury
An injury in which the skin is broken as the result of a cut (laceration).
perforation
A hole in the walls of an organ or structure of the body that develops from a weak spot in the organ or from a deep penetrating wound caused by trauma.
perfusion
The flow of blood or other fluid to an organ.
pericardial effusion
Excessive fluid within the sac surrounding the heart, usually due to inflammation.
perineum
The surface of the body between the anus and the scrotum in men and between the anus and the vulva in women.
periodontal disease
Disease that affects the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth.
peritoneum
A thin layer of connective tissue that lines the abdominal cavity.
peritonitis
Inflammation of the thin tissues that line the abdomen and the abdominal organs.
periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
Damage to white matter brain tissue as a result of a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain prior, during or after birth.
peroxide
Also known as hydrogen peroxide, a liquid bleaching agent used as a disinfectant.
pharyngeal
Related to the pharynx, or throat.
phlebectomy
Removal of a vein segment, sometimes performed for the treatment of varicose veins.
phlebitis
Painful inflammation (swelling) of the veins.
photodynamic therapy
A form of treatment in which a drug is administered and then activated by light.
physicist
A specialist in the science of physics.
Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)
A computer system for acquiring, storing, viewing, and managing digital medical imaging studies and related information.
pituitary adenoma
A common, benign tumor of the pituitary gland that may affect hormonal levels.
plaque
An accumulation of fat and other substances on the inner wall of a blood vessel that, over time, may build up and limit or block blood flow through the vessel.
platelets
Particles that are formed in bone marrow and circulate in the blood. They bind at the site of a wound to begin the clotting process.
pleural effusion
An excess of fluid in the pleural cavity, the space that surrounds the lungs and lies underneath the chest wall.
pleural membrane
A thin layer of tissue that lines the pleural cavity, the space that surrounds the lungs and lies underneath the chest wall.
pleural space
Also called pleural cavity. The cavity that exists between the lungs and underneath the chest wall. It is normally empty, with the lung immediately against the inside of the chest wall. In some diseases, fluid can build up in this space (a pleural effusion). In trauma, air can enter this space (a pneumothorax). Under either condition, excessive fluid or air in the pleural space can cause difficulty breathing since the lung is prevented from inflating fully.
pleurisy
Inflammation of the membrame encasing the lungs.
polycythemia
A disorder in which there is an abnormal increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood.
polyp
A usually benign growth that bulges outward from the surface of normal tissue, usually appearing as an irregular mound- or mushroom-like structure growing from a broad base or a slender stalk.
porous
Having small holes or pores.
portal vein
Also called the hepatic portal vein. The main vein that carries blood from the digestive tract to the liver.
post-embolization syndrome
A condition that includes pain, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever that many patients experience following an embolization procedure. to prevent blood from flowing to the area.
posteroanterior view
A term typically denoting the direction of x-rays, from posterior to anterior, through a body part.
precancerous
Abnormal tissue changes that often are found before cancer develops.
primary aldosteronism
A condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone, leading to high blood pressure.
primary headache
One of the two major types of headaches. Primary headaches, which include cluster, migraine and tension headaches, are not associated with a medical condition or disease.
probe
1. A slender rod of flexible material, with blunt bulbous tip, used for exploring sinuses, fistulas, other cavities, or wounds. 2. A device or agent used to detect or explore a substance; e.g., a molecule used to detect the presence of a specific fragment of DNA or RNA or of a specific bacterial colony. 3. To enter and explore, as with a probe.
proctocolectomy
A surgical procedure to remove the rectum and part or the entire colon.
proctoscopy
This procedure uses a special camera at the end of a tube that allows the doctor to see inside the rectum.
prognostic
Related to a medical prognosis, a prediction of the course and likely outcome of a disease.
prophylactic cranial radiation
Exposure of the brain to low-dose radiation in a cancer patient in order to prevent the tumor from spreading to this site.
prostate cancer
A tumor of the prostate gland, which is located in front of a man's rectum and below the bladder.
prostatitis
An inflammation (swelling) of the prostate gland.
proton
A positively charged particle that is a fundamental component of the nucleus of all atoms.
pulmonary
Related to the lungs or the respiratory system.
pulmonary edema
A build-up of fluid in the lungs and a swelling of lung tissue.
pulmonary embolism
Blockage of the arteries in the lungs, most frequently by detached fragments of a blood clot from a leg or pelvic vein, commonly when that clot follows an operation or confinement to bed.
pulmonary hypertension
A type of high blood pressure within the network of blood vessels between the heart and lungs.
pulse oximetry
A test that involves a small device placed on a finger tip to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood.
pyelography
Radiologic study of the kidney, ureters, and usually the bladder, performed with the aid of a contrast material either injected intravenously, or directly from below via the urethra, or from above through the kidney (either via a direct puncture or through a previously placed catheter).
pyelonephritis
A bacterial infection of the kidney that may occur when a urinary tract infection (UTI) spreads beyond the bladder to the ureters and kidneys.
pylorus
The passage from the stomach into the small intestines.