Glossary of Terms

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Analgesic: A drug that alleviates pain without causing loss of consciousness.

Anesthesia: A drug that blocks pain impulses from nerves. With general anesthesia you are unconscious, or asleep. With local anesthesia you are conscious, or awake.

Anterolisthesis: A mechanical injury where the position of the upper vertebral compared to the vertebral below is abnormal. The upper vertebral “slips” forward.

Cardiac: Near, of, or relating to the heart.

CAT or CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography): a test that uses X-rays and computer analysis to depict the three-dimensional pictures of the inside of your body.

Cauda equina syndrome: The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord. Cauda equina syndrome is severe compression of the cauda equina resulting in loss of bowel or bladder function, loss of sensation in the buttocks and groin, and weakness in the legs.

Corticosteroid: A medicine that reduces swelling, or inflammation.

Degenerative: Undergoing degeneration: growing less healthy over time.

Dehiscence: A rupture or splitting open, as of a surgical wound, or of an organ or structure to discharge its contents.

Efficacy: Ability to be effective, effectiveness.

Endoscopic: An instrument for examining visually the interior of a bodily canal or a hollow organ such as the colon, bladder, or stomach.

Epidural: Located on or over the dura mater.

Extension: Bending backward, standing upright.

Facet: Flat surfaces where two vertebrae meet and articulate (move) forming a joint.

Facetectomy: An operation to remove part of the facet. To prevent a degenerated facet from pinching a nerve.

Flexion: Bending forward, or sitting.

Fluoroscope: A device equipped with a screen on which the internal structures of an opaque object, such as the human body, may be continuously viewed as images created by the differential transmission of x-rays through the object.

Foramen: A natural opening or passage in bone for nerves and blood vessels.

Foraminotomy: An operation to make the foramen larger. To provide more space for the nerves and blood vessels.

Fusion: An operation to permanently join the vertebrae together.

Gastrointestinal: Of or relating to the stomach and intestines

Hematoma: A localized swelling filled with blood resulting from a break in a blood vessel.

Hemorrhage: Excessive discharge of blood from the blood vessels; profuse bleeding.

Herniated: Of or relating to a bodily structure that has protruded through an abnormal opening in the wall that contains it.

Hypertrophic: A nontumorous enlarged organ or tissue as a result of an increase in the size rather than the number of constituent cells:

Interspinous Ligament: Spinal ligament which extends from one spinous process to the other.

Interspinous Process Decompression (IPD): An operation in which an implant, called the IPD, is placed between your spinous processes.

Intervertebral Disc: Tissue found between the bones of the spinal column, called verterbrae. The discs help cushion the spine from stress during everyday activities (i.e., walking, bending, sitting, etc.)

Lamina: A part of a vertebra. For each vertebra, two lamina connect the pedicles to the spinous processes — forming the roof of the spinal canal.

Laminectomy: An operation to remove the lamina. The purpose is to allow more room for the spinal cord and nerves.

Laminotomy: An operation to remove part of the lamina. This is done to allow more room for the spinal cord and nerves.

Ligaments: A band of tissue linking two bones in a joint.

Ligamentum Flavum: Any of a series of ligaments of yellow elastic tissue connecting the laminae of adjacent vertebrae from the axis to the sacrum.

Lordosis: An abnormal forward curvature of the spine in the lumbar region.

Lumbar: The lower part of the spine between the ribs and hipbones.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A degenerative spinal disease that causes narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing pinches the nerves and causes pain symptoms.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): a test that uses a combination of radio waves and magnetic fields to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body.

Myelogram: A diagnostic procedure in which a dye is injected into the spinal canal before an X-ray is performed. The dye makes the spinal canal and nerve roots easier to see on X-ray film.

NAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Nerves: Fibers containing nerve cells that send messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Nerve root: The start of the nerve as it leaves the spinal cord (and passes through the foramen).

Neurologic: Of or relating to neurology.

Osteophyte: A bony outgrowth on the edge of a vertebra, also known as a bone spur.

Pedicle: A part of a vertebra. It connects the lamina with the vertebral body.

Respiratory: Of, relating to, used in, or affecting respiration.

Sciatica: Pain along the sciatic nerve usually caused by a herniated disk of the lumbar region of the spine and radiating to the buttocks and to the back of the thigh.

Spinal Canal: The bony channel that contains the spinal cord.

Spinal Cord: A bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Spinous Process: A part of the vertebra. A spinous process protrudes from each vertebra. The spinous processes create the “bumps” you feel in the middle of your back.

Supraspinous Ligament: Spinal ligament that passes over and attaches to the tips of the spinous processes.

Spondylolisthesis: A condition in which one vertebra slips forward in relation to the vetebra below it.

Transfusion:The transfer of whole blood or blood products from one individual to another.

Unsinate: Bent at the end like a hook; unciform.

Vascular: Containing vessels that carry or circulate blood through the body.

Vertebra: A bone of the spinal column. There are five (5) lumbar vertebrae.

X-ray: A test that uses radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.

X-Stop : A titanium implant that fits between the spinous processes.