Medical Definitions

Glossary of Terms

Artifacts: Misrepresentation of tissue structures that may cause an image to look different; for example, light or dark spots, specs and or common objects such as necklaces and buttons that can occasionally occur in the image.

Biliary System: The gallbladder and the ducts that carry bile and other digestive enzymes from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas to the small intestine.

Bladder: Is a hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ located in the pelvis. The bladder stretches to store urine and contracts to release urine. The bladder is a part of the urinary tract.

Brain: The organ situated within the skull and its function is to regulate the body’s activities.

Carotid Artery: The carotid arteries are the main supplier of oxygenated blood to the head. It branches to form the internal and external carotid arteries. It is the artery felt in the neck below the jawbone and is often used for taking the pulse.

Coil: Single or multiple loops of wire (or another electrical conductor, such as tubing, etc.) designed either to produce a magnetic field from current flowing through the wire, or to detect a changing magnetic field by voltage induced in the wire. Designed to improve the diagnostic capabilities and performance of the MRI system.

Gland: A collection of cells or an organ with a specialized ability to produce essential substances (enzymes and hormones) necessary for the normal functioning of biological processes. There are nine glands in the human body. Examples of glands include the pancreas and thyroid.

Heart: Also known as the cardiac muscle, is a hollow muscle, whose primary role is to pump blood through the body.

IAC (Inner Auditory Canal): MRI screens (limited study of the internal auditory canals or inner ear structures and nerves associated with hearing) can clearly define the anatomy associated with hearing.

Kidney: Two bean-shaped organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the spinal column. Kidneys maintain the body’s chemical balance by excreting waste products and excess fluid in the form of urine. The medical field that studies the kidneys and diseases affecting the kidney is called nephrology. The equivalent medical field that studies the urinary tract is urology, and this field also specializes in surgery whereas nephrology does not.

Liver: Largest organ in the body located in the upper abdomen. The liver has many functions, including changing food into energy, neutralizing poisons, synthesizing proteins and regulating the chemicals in the blood. The liver also cleanses the blood and aids in digestion by secreting bile.

MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography): Is a specific MRI exam designed to evaluate arteries, veins and the blood flowing with them.

  • The Muscles: Are organs made up primarily of muscular tissue. Muscles are subdivided into three main types, each having their own function.
  • Skeletal muscles: Are the muscles that are attached to the skeleton and are used to create movement.
  • Cardiac muscles: Are the involuntary muscles made up of cardiac fibers designed to contract continuously without strain.
  • Smooth muscles: Are composed of smooth muscular tissue, and they control involuntary movements of the internal organs. Examples of smooth muscles include the gastrointestinal tract, gladder, and blood vessels.

Nerves: A bundle of fibers that transmit electrical and chemical messages from the brain to the rest of the body.

NPO: "Nil per Os," is Latin for “Nothing by Mouth.” No food or liquid can be passed orally.

Organ: Is a group of tissues that work together as a single unit to perform a particular function within a multicellular organism. A group of related organs is an organ system. Examples of organs include eyes, lungs, heart, liver, and skin.

Picture Archival And Communications System (PACS): A system that stores and transfers images, reports and patient data.

Pancreas: A gland that makes enzymes that help the body break down and use nutrients in food. It also produces the hormone insulin [see definition] and releases it into the bloodstream to help the body control blood sugar levels.

Pelvis: Is the bony structure located at the base of the spine, between the hip bones. It also supports the weight of internal organs in the upper part of the body.

Radiologist: A certified medical doctor specially trained to interpret images of the body. The images are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.

Radiology: The branch of medicine that uses ionizing and non-ionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Radiology is also known as roentgenology after Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen who discovered X-rays in 1895.

Radiation: Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy waves often used in medicine.

Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances are used in medicine as tracers for diagnosis, and in treatment to kill tumor cells.

Skeleton: The skeleton is composed of bones and is the framework of the body. There are 206 bones in the average adult skeleton.

Spleen: An organ that is part of the lymphatic system, located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach. The spleen produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. While a person can live without a spleen, he or she would be at a higher risk of developing certain infections.

Tesla: (T-symbol)—after inventor, engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla who made several contributions to electromagnetism. Is a unit of magnetic flux density (commonly known as magnetic field). For example, the earth’s magnetic core is approximately 0.0001T. Thus the magnetic strength of a 1.5T MRI unit is 200 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic core in Houston, TX.

Thyroid: A butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that secretes hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate growth, development and metabolism.

Uterus: The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called the womb.

Venous: Refers to veins.

X-Ray: A high-energy electromagnetic wave. X-rays are used for making images that help to diagnose disease.

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