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 48 names in this directory beginning with the letter S.
sacroiliac joint
joint in the pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis
saline
Salt water.
salpingo-oophorectomy
Surgical removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
sciatica
A general term for pain related to the sciatic nerve; it may result from a herniated intervertebral disc in the spine.
scintigraphy
A diagnostic procedure consisting of the administration of a radionuclide that accumulates in the organ or tissue of interest, followed by recording the distribution of the radioactivity with a stationary or scanning external scintillation camera.
sclerotherapy
Treatment involving the injection of a sclerosing (hardening) solution into vessels or tissues.
scoliosis
A side-to-side curvature of the spine that usually develops in childhood or adolescence.
screening mammography
Imaging examination of the breast by means of x-rays, of individuals usually without symptoms, to detect unsuspected breast cancer.
secondary headache
One of the two major types of headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by an injury or underlying illness, such as bleeding in the brain, an infection or a brain tumor.
secure sockets layer (SSL)
A cryptographic communications protocol that provides secure transmissions on the Internet by encoding/decoding the data transfers.
sedation, non-pharmacological
Approaches that guide a patient to a state of relaxation by focusing attention on pleasant thoughts. Guidance is provided by specially trained radiology or other medical personnel. This condition may be achieved via distraction techniques or self-hypnotic relaxation.
sedative
A drug that allows you to relax during a procedure like angiography, often without putting you to sleep.
seizure
A sudden, uncontrollable wave of electrical activity in the brain that causes involuntary bodily movement, a change in attention or a loss of consciousness.
seizure disorders
A condition marked by sudden, uncontrollable waves of electrical activity in the brain, causing involuntary movement or loss of consciousness.
semen
A thick white fluid, made and stored in male testicles, that carries sperm out of the body through the penis during ejaculation.
sentinel lymph node
The first lymph node in a lymph node bed to receive drainage from a tumor site.
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Any infectious disease that is passed from one person to another during sexual contact.
shear injury
Also known as diffuse axonal injury. Stretched or torn nerve fibers in the brain.
sickle-cell anemia
A severe, chronic type of anemia caused by an abnormal form of hemoglobin that distorts the red blood cells. These abnormal red blood cells sometimes plug the blood vessels, causing damage to the organ downstream.
sigmoid colon
The lower part of the colon.
single-photon emission-computed tomography (SPECT)
An imaging test that uses a gamma camera and a computer to create three-dimensional (3-D) images of the distribution of a radiotracer in the body. SPECT is used to study blood flow through the heart muscle, and to study the brain, bones and to detect infection and certain types of tumors.
sinusitis
Infection or inflammation of one or more of the sinuses.
sloughing
The process in which dead tissue becomes separated from living anatomic structures.
social workers
Social workers may be available to provide practical help and counseling to patients or members of their families and can help them to cope. They also may help arrange for home health care and other services. Social workers may be licensed. Licensed social workers must have a master's degree and must pass an examination.
sonication
A pulse of ultrasonic energy used to heat up and destroy diseased tissue.
sonographer
An allied health professional who has been specifically trained to perform ultrasound examinations. Many sonographers are certified by a registry of sonographers, provided they meet strict training requirements and pass examinations in basic ultrasound science and clinical applications.
sonography
Syn: ultrasonography. The imaging of body structures by measuring the reflection or transmission of high frequency sound waves. Computer calculation of the distance to the sound-reflecting or -absorbing surface plus the known orientation of the sound beam gives a two- or three-dimensional image.
sonohysterography
Sonography of the uterus and fallopian tubes using a transvaginal probe following the injection of sterile saline into the uterus via a thin catheter inserted through the cervix.
speculum
An instrument for enlarging the opening of a canal or cavity in order to facilitate inspection of its interior; most frequently used with Pap tests.
sperm
Sperm (or spermatozoa) is the male reproductive cell carried by semen through the penis when a man ejaculates.
sphincter
A ring-like muscle that surrounds and is able to contract or close a bodily passage or opening.
spinal cord
A cylindrical bundle of nerves, lying within the vertebral column, that carries sensory messages from peripheral nerves to the brain, and motor impulses from the brain to the body's muscles.
spinal fusion
Surgical fixation of an unstable segment of the spine.
spirometer
A device that measures the volume of air that moves in and out of the lungs.
spleen
A large organ located in the left, upper abdomen, beside the stomach; as part of the immune system, it produces white blood cells and acts as a blood filter.
stage
Extent or progression of a disease such as cancer.
staging
Determining the extent or progression of a disease such as cancer.
stenosis, pl. stenoses
Also called a stricture. 1. An abnormal narrowing of any canal; for example, a narrowing of one of the cardiac valves. 2. Narrowing of an opening or passageway in the body. Stenosis of an artery may reduce blood flow through the vessel.
stereotactic biopsy
An x-ray procedure that uses multiple coordinates to precisely determine the location of a tumor or nodule so that a tissue sample may be obtained.
sternum
The breastbone (the long, flat bone that forms the front of the chest cage).
stress test
A heart monitoring test to discover how well the heart works, usually performed via physical exercise, sometimes via drugs to simulate heart stress.
subarachnoid hemorrhage
Blood collection between middle (arachnoid) and inner (pia mater) linings of the brain. It can be a result of trauma, or a bursting (ruptured) aneurysm. An aneurysm is a small area of weakness of the wall of an artery, which may be congenital, or less commonly, due to other causes, such as an infection.
subarachnoid space
The space between the membrane covering the spinal cord and the cord itself.
subclavian vein
A major vein running under the collarbone (clavicle) which receives blood from the large vein of the upper arm and returns toward the heart.
superior vena cava
One of the largest veins in the body, it returns blood from the entire upper half of the body directly to the right atrium, one of the heart chambers.
surgical shunt
A surgically created passageway to allow blood or other bodily fluids to flow between two locations. A shunt may be used to move fluid from one part of the body to another or to divert blood flow from one route to another.
sutures
Stitches used to hold tissue together or to close a wound.
syphilis
A sexually transmitted disease that can cause lesions of the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.