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Medical Terminology For Dummies – Don’t know a carcinoma from a hematoma? This friendly guide explains how the easiest way to remember unfamiliar, often-tongue-twisting words is to learn their parts: the prefix, root, and suffix. 

Medical Terminology For Dummies breaks down the words you’ll encounter in your medical terminology course and gives you plain-English explanations and examples to help you master definitions, pronunciations, and applications across all medical fields.

For many, the language of medicine and healthcare can be confusing, and frequently presents the greatest challenge to students – this guide was designed to help you overcome this problem with ease! Packed with ideas, study materials, quizzes, mind maps, and games to help you retain the information, Medical Terminology For Dummies quickly gets you up to speed on medical prefixes, suffixes, and root words so you’ll approach even unfamiliar medical terms with confidence and ease.

  • Bone up on words that describe and are related to the body’s systems
  • Correctly pronounce and understand the meanings of medical terms
  • Find tricks and study tips for memorizing words
  • Build your knowledge with helpful word-building activities

If you’re working toward a certification or degree in a medical or healthcare field, or if you’re already on the job, Medical Terminology For Dummies is the fast and easy way to learn the lingo.

From the Back Cover

Learn to:

  • Deconstruct and identify prefix, root, and suffix origins
  • Understand word foundations and origins
  • Communicate like a healthcare professional

Don’t know a carcinoma from a hematoma? No worries!

This friendly guide shows you how the easiest way to remember unfamiliar, tongue-twisting words is to learn their parts: the prefix, root, and suffix. Loaded with helpful tips, it breaks down the words you’ll encounter in your medical terminology course and helps you master definitions, pronunciations, and applications across all medical fields.

  • Say what? — discover how easy it is to approach medical terminology by way of linguistics to break down words and quickly make sense of their meaning
  • The anatomy of things — bone up your understanding of terminology in the skeletal system, get ripped with the muscular system, and deepen your understanding of the skin and sensory systems
  • Let’s get physiological — find tips on grasping the puzzling terms associated with cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and nervous systems
  • When you gotta go — take advantage of easy-to-understand guidance on the stumping terms you may encounter in the urinary and male/female reproductive systems

Open the book and find:

  • Everything you need to scrub into medical terminology
  • The big three that make medical terminology a breeze: prefixes, roots, and suffixes
  • Easy-to-remember tips for mastering every part of the body
  • Essential medical terminology resources to keep on your tool belt
  • Mnemonic devices you don’t want to be without
  • Useful study references worth checking out

Contents at a Glance


Introduction ………………………………………………………. 1
Part I: Living for Linguistics………………………………….. 5
Chapter 1: Scrubbing In to Master Medical Terminology………………………………………7
Chapter 2: Medical Terminology: The How and Why ………………………………………….13
Chapter 3: Introducing the Big Three: Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes ……………………19
Chapter 4: Acronyms, Eponyms, Homonyms, Multiples, and Plurals — Oh My! ….31
Chapter 5: Say What? Pronunciation and Usage………………………………………………….45
Part II: Mapping Words and Bodies……………………….. 55
Chapter 6: As It Was in the Beginning: Prefixes…………………………………………………..57
Chapter 7: So It Shall Be in the End: Suffixes……………………………………………………….69
Chapter 8: Hey, I Know You: Word Recognition ………………………………………………….75
Chapter 9: Deconstruction Junction: Breaking Down Words……………………………….85
Chapter 10: An Org Chart to Live By: Organization of the Body ………………………….95
Chapter 11: All Systems Go: When Systems Combine ……………………………………….109
Part III: In Terms of Anatomy …………………………….. 119
Chapter 12: Boning Up on the Skeletal System………………………………………………….121
Chapter 13: Getting Ripped: The Muscular System……………………………………………139
Chapter 14: Skin Deep: Skin, Glands, Nails, and Hair …………………………………………153
Chapter 15: It Depends on Your Perception: The Sensory Systems …………………..167
Part IV: Let’s Get Some Physiology Terminology……… 185
Chapter 16: The Hear t of the Mat ter: The Cardiovascular and
Lymphatic Systems ………………………………………………………………………………………..187
Chapter 17: Just Breathe: The Respiratory System……………………………………………211
Chapter 18: Feeding Time: The Gastrointestinal System……………………………………227
Chapter 19: Gatekeepers of Health: The Endocrine System……………………………….245
Chapter 20: Calming Down: The Nervous System ……………………………………………..261

Part V: Name That Plumbing ……………………………… 275
Chapter 21: When You Gotta Go: The Urinary System ………………………………………277
Chapter 22: Check the Plumbing: The Male Reproductive System…………………….291
Chapter 23: A Life Force: The Female Reproductive System ……………………………..305
Part VI: The Part of Tens …………………………………… 325
Chapter 24: Ten Essential Medical Terminology References ……………………………..327
Chapter 25: Ten or So Useful Mnemonic Devices………………………………………………331
Chapter 26: Ten Sets of Terminology Tongue-Twisting Diseases……………………….335
Appendix: Prefixes and Suffixes ………………………….. 341
Index ……………………………………………………………. 345

Table of Contents – Medical Terminology For Dummies


Introduction ……………………………………………………….. 1
About This Book ………………………………………………………………………………….1
Foolish Assumptions……………………………………………………………………………2
Icons Used in This Book ………………………………………………………………………3
Beyond the Book …………………………………………………………………………………4
Where to Go from Here………………………………………………………………………..4
Part I: Living for Linguistics…………………………………… 5
Chapter 1: Scrubbing In to Master Medical Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Tale Behind the Terms………………………………………………………………….7
Making Terminology Work for You………………………………………………………8
Building a Foundation of Vocabulary……………………………………………………9
In Terms of Anatomy……………………………………………………………………………9
All Systems Go …………………………………………………………………………………..10
Down-Under Details……………………………………………………………………………11
The Ultimate Resource: You ………………………………………………………………12
Chapter 2: Medical Terminology: The How and Why . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Defining Medical Terminology……………………………………………………………13
Medical Terminology in the Real World……………………………………………..14
In theory and practice……………………………………………………………….15
Writing it down………………………………………………………………………….15
Changes in Medical Terminology ……………………………………………………….16
It’s Greek and Latin to Me…………………………………………………………………..16
Modernizing Medicine ……………………………………………………………………….17
Chapter 3: Introducing the Big Three: Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes . . . 19
Rooting Around for Answers………………………………………………………………20
Exterior root words …………………………………………………………………..20
Interior root words ……………………………………………………………………23
Prefix as Precursor…………………………………………………………………………….28
Common Prefixes……………………………………………………………………………….28

Suffixes: Final Thoughts……………………………………………………………………..29
viii Medical Terminology For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapter 4: Acronyms, Eponyms, Homonyms, Multiples,
and Plurals — Oh My! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Acronyms…………………………………………………………………………………………..32
Eponyms …………………………………………………………………………………..34
Homonyms………………………………………………………………………………..35
Deriving a Plural the Medical Way ……………………………………………………..37
Medical rules for forming plurals ………………………………………………37
English rules of forming plurals…………………………………………………39
Welcome to the Peanut Gallery: More Exceptions to the Plural Rules ….. 40
Chapter 5: Say What? Pronunciation and Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Hooked on Phonics ……………………………………………………………………………45
Pronouncing Common Prefixes and Beginning Sounds……………………….46
The sound of silence …………………………………………………………………46
From your ear to the dictionary ………………………………………………..47
Pronouncing Common Suffixes and Endings ………………………………………48
Pronouncing Common Combinations…………………………………………………49
Putting It All Together………………………………………………………………………..50
What Condition Your Condition Is In………………………………………………….51
Suffering Suffixes ……………………………………………………………………………….52

Medical Terminology For Dummies

Part II: Mapping Words and Bodies ……………………….. 55
Chapter 6: As It Was in the Beginning: Prefixes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Common Prefixes……………………………………………………………………………….57
A–E prefixes………………………………………………………………………………58
F–J prefixes ……………………………………………………………………………….59
K–O prefixes ……………………………………………………………………………..59
P–Z prefixes ………………………………………………………………………………60
Matching Prefixes to Situations ………………………………………………………….61
In your body ……………………………………………………………………………..61
In the doctor’s office and hospital……………………………………………..62
In the pharmacy and research lab……………………………………………..63
Retro Root Rewind A–M……………………………………………………………………..63
Retro Root Rewind N–Z………………………………………………………………………66
Chapter 7: So It Shall Be in the End: Suffixes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Common Suffixes ……………………………………………………………………………….69
-itis ……………………………………………………………………………………………69
-oma ………………………………………………………………………………………….70
-pathy………………………………………………………………………………………..70
And lots more suffixes……………………………………………………………….70
Matching Suffixes to Situations…………………………………………………………..73
In your body ……………………………………………………………………………..73
In the doctor’s office and hospital……………………………………………..74

Medical Terminology For Dummies

Chapter 8: Hey, I Know You: Word Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
The Inside Story: Terms for Your Interior…………………………………………..75
Terms for the Outside of Your Body…………………………………………………..81
Pathological Conditions……………………………………………………………………..82
Chapter 9: Deconstruction Junction: Breaking Down Words . . . . . . . 85
Finding Parts of Words ………………………………………………………………………85
Identifying word elements …………………………………………………………86
Defining the prefix …………………………………………………………………….86
Defining the root word………………………………………………………………87
Identifying the combining vowel………………………………………………..88
Defining the suffix ……………………………………………………………………..88
Going Deeper into Suffixes …………………………………………………………………89
Adding Up Individual Word Meanings ………………………………………………..91
Chapter 10: An Org Chart to Live By: Organization of the Body . . . . . 95
Looking at the Big Picture ………………………………………………………………….95
Cells…………………………………………………………………………………………………..96
Tissues ………………………………………………………………………………………………97
Organs and Systems…………………………………………………………………………..97
Cavities of the Body …………………………………………………………………………..98
Directional Terms and Anatomical Planes ………………………………………..100
Regions of the Body …………………………………………………………………………102
Chapter 11: All Systems Go: When Systems Combine . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Anatomical Systems Working Together ……………………………………………109
The musculoskeletal system ……………………………………………………109
The integumentary system………………………………………………………110
The sensory system…………………………………………………………………110
Physiology Systems Working Together …………………………………………….111
The cardiovascular and lymphatic systems …………………………….111
The respiratory system……………………………………………………………112
The gastrointestinal system…………………………………………………….113
The endocrine system……………………………………………………………..114
The nervous system ………………………………………………………………..116
The urinary and reproductive systems ……………………………………116

Part III: In Terms of Anatomy……………………………… 119
Chapter 12: Boning Up on the Skeletal System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
How the Skeletal System Works ……………………………………………………….121
Bones and osteology ……………………………………………………………….123
Axial skeleton ………………………………………………………………………….124
Appendicular skeleton …………………………………………………………….126
Joints ………………………………………………………………………………………127

Medical Terminology For Dummies

Medical Terminology For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Skeletal Root Words …………………………………………………………………………128
More Anatomical Terms …………………………………………………………………..130
Common Skeletal Conditions ……………………………………………………………132
Finding the Culprit: Skeletal Diseases and Pathology………………………..134
Testing, Testing: Skeletal Radiology and Diagnostic Tests………………..135
Paging Dr. Terminology: Skeletal Surgeries and Procedures……………..135
Chapter 13: Getting Ripped: The Muscular System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
How the Muscular System Works …………………………………………………….139
Classes of muscles…………………………………………………………………..140
Types of muscles …………………………………………………………………….141
Muscles and tendons……………………………………………………………….142
Roundup of the superficial muscles…………………………………………142
Muscular Roots and Suffixes…………………………………………………………….147
Action Item: The Movement of Your Muscles……………………………………148
Common Muscular Conditions …………………………………………………………149
Finding the Culprit: Muscular Diseases and Pathology……………………..150
Testing, Testing: Muscular Radiology and Diagnostic Tests ……………..151
Paging Dr. Terminology: Muscular Surgeries and Procedures…………..151
It’s All Related: More Muscular Terms ……………………………………………..152
Chapter 14: Skin Deep: Skin, Glands, Nails, and Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Layers of Skin…………………………………………………………………………………..153
Epidermis………………………………………………………………………………..154
Dermis …………………………………………………………………………………….155
Subcutaneous layer …………………………………………………………………155
Glands, Both Sebaceous and Sudoriferous ……………………………………….156
Hair and Nails…………………………………………………………………………………..157
Integumentary Root Words ………………………………………………………………158
Common Integumentary Conditions …………………………………………………160
Finding the Culprit: Integumentary Diseases and Pathology……………..161
Testing, Testing: Integumentary Radiology and Diagnostic Tests……..163
Paging Dr. Terminology: Integumentary Surgeries and Procedures…..164
More Integumentary Terms ……………………………………………………………..165

Chapter 15: It Depends on Your Perception: The Sensory Systems . . . 167
The Eye ……………………………………………………………………………………………167
Inner eye …………………………………………………………………………………168
Outer eye…………………………………………………………………………………170
The Ear…………………………………………………………………………………………….170
Outer ear …………………………………………………………………………………171
Middle ear ……………………………………………………………………………….172
Inner ear………………………………………………………………………………….172

Medical Terminology For Dummies

The Nose………………………………………………………………………………………….173
The Mouth ……………………………………………………………………………………….173
The Touch Receptor ………………………………………………………………………..174
Sensory Root Words…………………………………………………………………………174
It’s All Related: More Anatomical Terms…………………………………………..177
Common Sensory Conditions……………………………………………………………179
Finding the Culprit: Sensory Diseases and Pathology ……………………….180
Testing, Testing: Sensory Radiology and Diagnostic Tests ……………….181
Paging Dr. Terminology: Surgeries and Procedures ………………………….182
Terminology RX: Sensory Pharmacology………………………………………….183
Part IV: Let’s Get Some Physiology Terminology………. 185
Chapter 16: The Hear t of the Mat ter: The Cardiovascular
and Lymphatic Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
How the Cardiovascular System Works ……………………………………………187
The heart…………………………………………………………………………………188
Blood vessels…………………………………………………………………………..190
Blood ………………………………………………………………………………………192
How the Lymphatic System Works …………………………………………………..193
Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Root Words……………………………………..195
Common Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Conditions………………………..199
Finding the Culprit: Cardiovascular and Lymphatic
Diseases and Pathology ………………………………………………………………..200
Testing, Testing: Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Radiology
and Diagnostic Tests …………………………………………………………………….204
Paging Dr. Terminology: Cardiovascular and Lymphatic
Surgeries and Procedures……………………………………………………………..206
Terminology Rx: Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Pharmacology……….208
Chapter 17: Just Breathe: The Respiratory System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
How the Respiratory System Works …………………………………………………211
Nose………………………………………………………………………………………..212
Pharynx and larynx………………………………………………………………….213
Trachea …………………………………………………………………………………..213
Bronchi……………………………………………………………………………………214

Lungs ………………………………………………………………………………………214
Respiratory Root Words…………………………………………………………………..215
It’s All Related: More Anatomical Terms…………………………………………..218
Common Respiratory Conditions……………………………………………………..220
Finding the Culprit: Respiratory Diseases and Pathology………………….221
Testing, Testing: Respiratory Radiology and Diagnostic Tests………….223
Paging Dr. Terminology: Respiratory Surgeries and Procedures……….225
Terminology RX: Respiratory Pharmacology ……………………………………226

Medical Terminology For Dummies

Chapter 18: Feeding Time: The Gastrointestinal System . . . . . . . . . . 227
How the Gastrointestinal System Works …………………………………………..228
Mouth and pharynx………………………………………………………………………….228
Esophagus ……………………………………………………………………………………….230
Stomach …………………………………………………………………………………………..230
Liver ………………………………………………………………………………………………..231
Pancreas ………………………………………………………………………………………….231
Gallbladder ………………………………………………………………………………………231
Intestines …………………………………………………………………………………………231
Gastrointestinal Root Words…………………………………………………………….233
Common Gastrointestinal Conditions……………………………………………….235
Finding the Culprit: Gastrointestinal Diseases and Pathology …………..239
Testing, Testing: Gastrointestinal Radiology and Diagnostic Tests …..240
Paging Dr. Terminology: Gastrointestinal Surgeries and Procedures…..242
Terminology RX: Gastrointestinal Pharmacology……………………………..244
Chapter 19: Gatekeepers of Health: The Endocrine System . . . . . . . 245
How the Endocrine System Works ……………………………………………………245
Hormones………………………………………………………………………………..246
Pituitary and hypothalamus…………………………………………………….247
Thyroid……………………………………………………………………………………248
Pancreas………………………………………………………………………………….249
Adrenals ………………………………………………………………………………….250
Gonads ……………………………………………………………………………………250
Endocrine Root Words……………………………………………………………………..251
It’s All Related: More Endocrine Anatomical Terms ………………………….253
Common Endocrine Conditions………………………………………………………..255
Finding the Culprit: Endocrine Diseases and Pathology ……………………257
Testing, Testing: Endocrine Radiology and Diagnostic Tests ……………258
Paging Dr. Terminology: Endocrine Surgeries and Procedures …………259
Terminology RX: Endocrine Pharmacology ………………………………………260
Chapter 20: Calming Down: The Nervous System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

Medical Terminology For Dummies

How the Nervous System Works ………………………………………………………261
The Central Nervous System…………………………………………………………….263
Brain ……………………………………………………………………………………….263
Spinal cord………………………………………………………………………………264
Peripheral Nervous System………………………………………………………………265
Nervous Root Words………………………………………………………………………..265
It’s All Related: More Nerve-Wracking Terms……………………………………….267
Common Nervous Conditions…………………………………………………………..268
Finding the Culprit: Nervous Diseases and Pathology……………………….270
Testing, Testing: Nervous Radiology and Diagnostic Tests……………….271
Paging Dr. Terminology: Nervous Surgeries and Procedures ……………273
Terminology RX: Nervous Pharmacology …………………………………………273

Medical Terminology For Dummies

Part V: Name That Plumbing ………………………………. 275
Chapter 21: When You Got ta Go: The Urinary System . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
How the Urinary System Works………………………………………………………..277
Kidneys……………………………………………………………………………………278
Ureters…………………………………………………………………………………….280
Urinary bladder……………………………………………………………………….280
Urethra ……………………………………………………………………………………280
Urinary Root Words …………………………………………………………………………281
Common Urinary Conditions ……………………………………………………………283
Finding the Culprit: Urinary Diseases and Pathology………………………..284
Testing, Testing: Urinary Radiology and Diagnostic Tests ………………..285
Paging Dr. Terminology: Urinary Surgeries and Procedures……………..287
Terminology RX: Urinary Pharmacology…………………………………………..289
Chapter 22: Check the Plumbing: The Male Reproductive System….. 291
How the Male Reproductive System Works………………………………………291
Testes ……………………………………………………………………………………..293
Ducts……………………………………………………………………………………….293
Urethra ……………………………………………………………………………………294
Prostate…………………………………………………………………………………..294
Penis ……………………………………………………………………………………….294
Male Reproductive Root Words ……………………………………………………….294
Pathological Male Reproductive Conditions……………………………………..296
Finding the Culprit: Male Reproductive Diseases and Pathology ………297
Testing, Testing: Male Reproductive Radiology and Diagnostic Tests…299
Paging Dr. Terminology: Male Reproductive Surgeries
and Procedures …………………………………………………………………………….300
Terminology RX: Male Reproductive Pharmacology…………………………301
Say What? Male Terminology Tongue Twisters ………………………………..302
Chapter 23: A Life Force: The Female Reproductive System . . . . . . . 305
How the Female Reproductive System Works…………………………………..305
Ovaries ……………………………………………………………………………………307
Fallopian tubes………………………………………………………………………..307
Uterus……………………………………………………………………………………..308
Vagina……………………………………………………………………………………..309
Female Reproductive Root Words ……………………………………………………310

Medical Terminology For Dummies

It’s All Related: More Female Reprodutive Anatomaical Terms…………313
Common Female Reproductive Conditions ………………………………………316
Finding the Culprit: Female Reproductive Diseases and Pathology …..318
Testing, Testing: Female Reproductive Radiology and
Diagnostic Tests ……………………………………………………………………………319
Paging Dr. Terminology: Female Reproductive Surgeries
and Procedures …………………………………………………………………………….320
Terminology RX: Female Reproductive Pharmacology……………………..324

Part VI: The Part of Tens……………………………………. 325 Medical Terminology For Dummies
Chapter 24: Ten Essential Medical Terminology References . . . . . . 327
Medterms.com…………………………………………………………………………………327
Medilexicon.com………………………………………………………………………………327
webMD.com……………………………………………………………………………………..328
Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary ………………………………………….328
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary……………………………………………………………..328
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary and Flashcards for Health
Professionals and Nursing Illustrated, 5th Edition ……………………………..328
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary…………………………………………….329
Sloane’s Medical Word Book, 5th Edition …………………………………………329
Medicalmnemonics.com…………………………………………………………………..329
Medical Terminology Systems Quick Study Guide ……………………………330
Chapter 25: Ten or So Useful Mnemonic Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Cranial Nerves………………………………………………………………………………….331
Lung Lobe Numbers …………………………………………………………………………332
The Size of a Thyroid ……………………………………………………………………….332
Scalp Layers …………………………………………………………………………………….332
Muscles of the Rotator Cuff………………………………………………………………332
Radial Nerve …………………………………………………………………………………….333
Face Nerves ……………………………………………………………………………………..333
Perineal versus Peroneal………………………………………………………………….333
Sperm Path through Male Reproductive Tract………………………………….333
Carpal Bone Locations……………………………………………………………………..334
Cranial Bones …………………………………………………………………………………..334
Chapter 26: Ten Sets of Terminology Tongue-Twisting Diseases . . . 335
Skeletal…………………………………………………………………………………………….335
Muscular ………………………………………………………………………………………….336
Integumentary………………………………………………………………………………….336
Sensory ……………………………………………………………………………………………336
Cardiovascular and Lymphatic…………………………………………………………337
Respiratory………………………………………………………………………………………337
Gastrointestinal ……………………………………………………………………………….337
Endocrine ………………………………………………………………………………………..338
Nervous……………………………………………………………………………………………338
Urinary and Reproductive………………………………………………………………..338

Appendix: Prefixes and Suffixes…………………………… 341
Index…………………………………………………………….. 345

Introduction – Medical Terminology For Dummies

Welcome to Medical Terminology For Dummies! Consider this your personal, private course in the study of the medical terms used everyday in doctor’s offices, hospitals, clinics, billing and insurance companies, labs, and even pharmacies. This is a personal grand tour through not only the world of medical terminology, but also through your own body. You’ll find as you read this book that learning medical terms is a two-part proposition. First, you’ve got to master the landscape of language itself. Don’t worry, though — there will be no quiz. We just want you to better understand how to both create and break down words. Once you get to know more about prefixes, suffixes, and root words, you can do darn near anything with the terminology. For example, you can go inside the body to discover the terms that match up with different systems, diseases, procedures, and pharmaceutical products. Mastering medical terminology involves more than just memorizing. Exploring these terms and how they can be created will unlock not only medical mysteries for you, but great opportunities as well.

About This Book – Medical Terminology For Dummies

Getting to know the world of medical terminology can get a bit repetitive at times. That’s why we decided to break the book down into several parts about all kinds of different things. You start by getting the backstory of terminology — the history and the players involved with bringing this “language” to the masses. Then you get into the nitty-gritty of how words are formed and all about word parts, usage, pronunciation, and recognition. Finally, you take a gander at all the different body systems and the words associated with them. We even throw in some bonus top ten lists at the end that we hope you find useful. There’s a lot to learn about medical terminology, we admit, but we’ll be right there with you for the whole wild, crazy ride. Keep in mind that you don’t have to read this book cover-to-cover, nor do you have to remember all the details from chapter to chapter. Read out of order, skip what you don’t need. It will all be there for you should you choose to revisit the sections, tips, or sidebars at another time. Medical Terminology For Dummies

Keep in mind that this is not a giant textbook of terms, nor is it a dictionary. Those are both great resources, and we recommend you pick up both if you are a medical professional. This is a friendly take on the topic, and our main goal is to show you the basics of how these words are made so that you can go out in the big, bad world and master the creation and use of medical terms on your own terms. We’re not giving you a fish, we’re teaching you to fish. We do rely on some conventions within this book that you may not see elsewhere in an attempt to keep the tone fun and conversational. So, please be prepared to see a lot of the following: We have included chapters about language and medical terminology’s place in it. You will notice we also make extensive use of lists in this book. We do this for your sanity. Be honest: Wouldn’t you rather be able to study these terms in organized, easy-to-find lists and tables rather than picking through long, boring paragraphs trying to find the words you need to learn? We thought so. Major chapters are divided by systems of the body. Each system chapter tells you a bit about how that particular body system works, to give you some context for its words. We aren’t doctors, so we try our best to explain things using simple language. That means you might see words like pee and poo from time to time. We figure you’re knee-deep in official-sounding terms here, so it doesn’t hurt to lighten up once in a while. New terms are in italics to make them easier to spot. Many of the body system chapters include artistic renderings. Don’t be alarmed by those little pictures you see peppering the pages of this book. Feel free to be distracted, however — that’s the point. We want you to stop and look at these great kernels of knowledge as you go through the book

Foolish Assumptions – Medical Terminology For Dummies

We are assuming you fall into one of these categories: ✓ A medical student hoping to get a jump-start on general terminology before that first big quiz. ✓ A medical professional looking to brush up on terms if you’re a bit out of practice or just want to know more about how these terms are made. ✓ A curious adult interested in speaking your doctor’s language and learning more about the terms that describe how your body functions.

No matter what possessed you to pick up this book, we hope it gives you the terminology boost you need for your particular circumstances. The human body has hundreds and hundreds of working parts, and they all have names. Moreover, there are names for all kinds of associated terms relating to functions, conditions, diseases, pathology, and even pharmacology. It’s a whole lot, we grant you. But you are eager, right? And no amount of 50-cent words frighten you away from your goal: to become a medical terminology Zen master. You can do it, Grasshopper.

About the Author

Beverley Henderson, CMT-R, HRT, has more than 40 years’ experience in medical terminology and transcription. She developed course curricula and helped write and produce a series of medical terminology teaching videos. Jennifer Lee Dorsey has been a writer and editor for 18 years.

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