Use this glossary to help define some of the medical terms found in this web site.


AbscessA collection of Pus caused by an infection in a closed space.
AnoscopeA short (3 inch) lighted instrument that is used to visualize the anal canal.
AnusThe opening at the lower end of the large intestine.
BiopsySampling a body tissue for microscopic examination in order determine the nature of a disease process.
Board CertifiedA surgeon who has trained at a accredited hospital and who has passed a qualifying examination given by accrediting agency recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Bowen's DiseaseA non-invasive skin cancer that involves the skin in and about the anus.
Brooke IleostomyA technique of constructing a surgical connection between the small intestine and the skin that was described by Sir Brian Brooke in England.
CancerThe uncontrolled growth of malignant tissue which is characterized by invasion and distant spread (metastasis).
CAT ScanComputerized Axial Tomography.; An computerized x-ray examination the permits detailed non-invasive examinations of internal organs.
CecumThe first part of the large intestine, located just after the junction of the small intestine with the large intestine.
ChemotherapyThe administration of oral or intravenous anticancer medications.
CholecystectomySurgical removal of the Gallbladder.
CholecystitisInflammation/infection of the gallbladder.
CholelithiasisGall stones.
ColitisAn inflammatory condition of the large intestine.
Colon &Rectal SurgeryThe medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the small and large intestine, including the rectum and anus.
ColonThe large intestine, the final 3-4 feet of the gastrointestinal tract.
ColonoscopeThe long flexible lighted instrument used for performing Colonoscopy.
ColonoscopyAn examination of the large intestine utilizing a long lighted fiberoptic or video scope.
ColostomyA surgically constructed connection between the large intestine (colon) and the skin. Requires an appliance or "bag" to collect intestinal waste.
CongenitalPresent at birth.
Continent Ileostomysee Koch Pouch.
Crohn's DiseaseAn inflammatory immune disease of the intestinal tract that causes thickening of the intestinal wall and inflammation of the intestinal lining (mucous membrane). Crohn's Disease can cause problems from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. Complications include bleeding, obstruction, perforation and development of fistulas.
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DefacographyA specialized X-Ray examination of the rectum.
DemerolA narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) usually administered during Colonoscopy.
DiverticulitisInflammation of the colon that occurs in the region of existing diverticulosis. This results in intense pain associated with fever, constipation or diarrhea. Complications of diverticulitis include intestinal obstruction, perforation, bleeding, and the development of abnormal connections (Fistulas) between the skin, intestine, bladder or vagina.
DiverticulosisA condition of the large intestines characterized by the development of weakness in the intestinal wall that permits herniation or outpouching of the intestinal lining. Diverticulosis usually develops as a result of inadequate dietary fiber.
DysfunctionLack of normal function Enema A cleansing solution used for preparation for examination of the large intestine.
Enterostomal TherapyThe treatment of patients with surgically constructed connections between the intestine or the urinary tract and the skin.
EpisiotomyA surgical incision made in the back wall of the vagina and the skin between the vagina and the rectum to facilitate childbirth.
Familial PolyposisA genetic (inherited) disease of the large intestine manifested by the development of many colon polyps that always degenerate into Cancer.
FiberFresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Fissure-in-AnoA tear or ulcer in the lining of the anal canal that is usually caused by diarrhea, constipation or trauma.
FistulaAn abnormal connection between the intestine and the skin (enterocutaneous), the vagina (enterovaginal or colovaginal), or the bladder (enterovesical or colovesical).
Fistula-in-AnoAnal Fistula. An abnormal connection between the anal canal and the skin surrounding the anus that is caused by infection of the anal glands, Crohn's Disease or Cancer.
Gall BladderThe sac-like organ located beneath the liver that stores bile.
General SurgeryThe surgical treatment of diseases of the abdomen, abdominal wall (hernias), breast, and endocrine organs.
Gill, NormaThe Founder of the first school of Enterostomal Therapy at The Cleveland Clinic.
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HemorrhageUncontrolled bleeding.
HemorrhoidsDilated veins that are located at the anal opening. May be either internal or external.
IleocolicReferring to the last few inches of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine. A clinical pattern of Crohn's Disease.
IleostomyA surgically constructed connection between the small intestine (ileum) and the skin. Requires an appliance or "bag" to collect intestinal waste.
ImmuneReferring to a complex series of chemical events that occur in relation to an allergic reaction, the result of which is inflammation.
Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseUlcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease.
InguinalRelating to the groin.
Intestinal ObstructionBlockage of the small or large intestine by tumor, inflammation or adhesions. Symptoms usually include crampy abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention and constipation.
HerniaA defect in the abdominal wall.
J-PouchA surgically constructed reservoir made from the small intestine and connected to the anal sphincter muscles in order to restore intestinal continuity and maintain continence in patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis or Familial Polyposis.
Koch PouchAlso called Continent Ileostomy. A surgically constructed intestinal reservoir with a leak-free valve that is emptied by insertion of a catheter 3-4 times daily.
LaparoscopeA lighted camera used to visualize the organs in the abdominal cavity.
LaparoscopicReferring to surgical procedures that are performed through a laparoscope.
LaparoscopyThe technique of visualizing the organs in the abdominal cavity using a camera and light source placed through the abdominal wall via a cylindrical "port."
LASERHigh energy light that is used for cutting and/or destroying tissue in surgery.
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Paget's DiseaseA non-invasive skin cancer that involves the skin in and about the anus.
PerforationA hole in the intestine that permits the flow of intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity.
PolypA flat or grape-like growth of benign or malignant tissue in the intestine.
ProctocolectomyThe surgical removal of the colon and rectum.
ProlapseAlso called Procidentia. The protrusion of the rectum through the anus. Usually caused by relaxation of the normal supporting structures of the rectum.
Pruritis AniItching of the anus and skin surrounding the anus.
Radiation TherapyX-Ray treatment that is directed against cancers.
RectumThe last 15cm (6 inches) of the intestinal tract.
Restorative ProctocolectomySurgical Removal of a diseased colon and rectum with the reestablishment of intestinal continuity utilizing an intestinal reservoir. Also called J-Pouch, Parks Pouch, Ileoanal Pull Through and Ileal Pouch Anal Anastomosis.
SigmoidoscopeA rigid or flexible tube with a light source that is used to examine the last 12-25 inches of the large intestine.
SigmoidoscopyA visual examination of the lower 12-25 inches if the large intestine using a lighted scope.
SphincterThe internal and external muscle that surrounds the anus. The sphincter permits continence or control over intestinal function.
SuppositoriesSpecially made medication that is inserted into the rectum.
Turnbull, Rupert B.One of the pioneers of modern Colon and Rectal Surgery. The former Chief of Colon and Rectal Surgery at The Cleveland Clinic.
Ulcerative ColitisAn Inflammatory Bowel Disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the colon and typically causes bloody diarrhea.
UltrasoundA noninvasive, painless technique of visualizing the tissues surrounding the rectum using sound waves that are emitted from a specially shaped anal probe.
UrostomyA surgically constructed connection between the urinary tract and the skin, usually performed in a patient whose bladder has been removed. Permits the passage of urine from the body.
VersedAn intravenous sedative usually administered during Colonoscopy.
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