Ear Surgery Glossary

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

A

  • Accessible: Tumors that can be approached surgically, not located deep within the brain or beneath vital structures.
  • Acoustic nerve: The eighth cranial nerve, responsible for hearing and balance.
  • Acoustic neuroma: A benign tumor on the acoustic nerve, often causing hearing loss and balance issues.
  • Agnosia: The loss of ability to recognize objects, people, sounds, shapes, or smells, often due to tumors in the parietal lobe.
  • Agraphia: The loss of ability to write, often associated with tumors in the parietal lobe of the dominant hemisphere.
  • Alopecia: Hair loss or baldness, commonly a side effect of radiation therapy or certain chemotherapy treatments.
  • Amplitude: The height of a sound wave, related to the loudness of a sound.
  • Ampulla: A swelling at the base of each semicircular canal containing sensory cells that detect fluid movement.
  • Anaplasia: The characteristic of cells that identifies them as cancerous, indicating malignancy.
  • Angiogram: An x-ray procedure to visualize blood vessels after injecting a contrast material.
  • Anosmia: The absence of the sense of smell, often a symptom of tumors in the frontal lobe.
  • Anvil (incus): One of the three small bones in the middle ear that transmit sound waves from the outer ear to the cochlea.
  • Aphasia: The loss of ability to speak, write, or understand speech and written words.
  • Assistive device: Any device, other than a hearing aid, that helps individuals with hearing impairments.
  • Ataxic gait: Uncoordinated and clumsy walking.
  • Audiogram: A graph that shows an individual's hearing ability across different frequencies.
  • Audiologist: A professional trained in diagnosing and rehabilitating hearing impairments.
  • Audiometry: The measurement of hearing acuity.
  • Auditory nerve: The nerve that carries electrical signals from the inner ear to the brain.
  • Auricle (pinna): The outer visible part of the ear.

B

  • Basilar membrane: A membrane in the cochlea that vibrates in response to sound waves.
  • Benign: Non-cancerous and not malignant.
  • Biopsy: The examination of a small tissue sample to diagnose a disease.
  • Bone conduction: The transmission of sound waves through the bones of the skull to the inner ear.
  • Bony labyrinth: The cavity in the skull that houses the inner ear.
  • Brainstem testing: A test that measures hearing sensitivity without requiring responses from the subject.

C

  • Cancer: Malignant tissue that invades and destroys healthy tissue and can spread to distant locations.
  • Carcinoma: A type of malignant tumor arising from epithelial tissue.
  • Catheter: A flexible tube used for removing or inserting fluids.
  • Closed captioning (CC): Subtitles for television programs that display spoken dialogue as text on the screen.
  • Cerebral: Pertaining to the cerebrum of the brain.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF): The clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
  • Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain, divided into two hemispheres and four lobes.
  • Cerumen: Ear wax.
  • Chemotherapy: The use of chemical agents to treat brain tumors.
  • Circumscribed: Confined to a specific area, often with a capsule, usually describing benign tumors.
  • Cochlea: The spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear that contains the organ of Corti, which transmits sound signals to the brain.
  • Cochlear implant: A device that replaces the function of the inner ear.
  • Cochlear implantation: The surgical process of implanting a cochlear device.
  • Cochlear nerve: Another term for the auditory nerve, specifically involved in hearing.
  • Conductive hearing loss: Hearing loss due to a problem in the outer or middle ear, preventing sound from reaching the inner ear.
  • Congenital: Present at birth.
  • Contralateral: Affecting the opposite side of the body.
  • Cortex: The outer layer of the brain where sensory information is processed.
  • Cranial cavity: The space within the skull that houses the brain.
  • Craniectomy: Surgical removal of part of the skull bone, which is not replaced.
  • Craniotomy: Surgical removal of part of the skull bone, which is replaced after the procedure.
  • Crista: Sensory cells in the semicircular canals that detect fluid movement.
  • CT or CAT scan: An imaging procedure that uses x-rays and a computer to create cross-sectional images of the brain.
  • Cupula: A jelly-like structure covering sensory hairs in the semicircular canals, aiding in balance.
  • Cycles (per second): A measure of the frequency of a sound, determining its pitch.
  • Cyst: A fluid-filled sac enclosed by a membrane.

D

  • Debulk: A surgical procedure to remove part of a tumor to reduce its size.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone): A steroid medication used to reduce brain swelling.
  • Decibel: A unit of measurement for the loudness of sound.
  • Decompressive: A surgical procedure to relieve pressure within the skull.
  • Diabetes insipidus: A condition causing excessive urination and thirst due to pituitary-hypothalamic damage.
  • Diplopia: Double vision.
  • Distal: Situated far from a reference point.
  • Dura mater: The tough outermost membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
  • Dysarthria: Difficulty in speaking due to muscle weakness or coordination issues.
  • Dysphagia: Difficulty or inability to swallow.
  • Dysphasia: A language disorder affecting the ability to speak or understand speech.

E

  • Ear canal: The tube that conducts sound from the outer ear to the eardrum.
  • Eardrum (tympanum): The membrane separating the outer ear from the middle ear.
  • Edema: Swelling caused by excess fluid.
  • Encapsulated: Confined within a capsule; localized.
  • Endoscope: A flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, used by doctors to view images of the inside of the body.
  • Endoscopic procedure: Minimally invasive medical procedure used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity in the body.
  • Etiology: The study of the causes of diseases.
  • Eustachian tube: A tube that connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, helping to equalize pressure.
  • Evoked potentials: Tests that measure the electrical activity of nerves, often used during surgery.
  • Extracerebral: Located outside the cerebral hemispheres.
  • Extradural: Located outside the dura mater.

F

  • Frequency: The number of sound vibrations per second, determining pitch.

G

  • Gait: The pattern of walking.
  • Ganglia: Groups of nerve cell bodies; the singular form is ganglion.
  • GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein): A protein used to differentiate glial from non-glial tumors.
  • Gland: An organ that produces and releases substances such as hormones.
  • Glia (neuroglia): Supportive tissue in the brain that does not conduct electrical impulses.
  • Glioma: A tumor arising from glial cells.
  • Glucocorticosteroids: Medications used to reduce swelling around tumors.
  • Gray matter: Brain tissue composed of nerve cells and blood vessels, responsible for processing information.
  • Growth factor: A protein that stimulates cell growth, often produced in large amounts by tumors.

H

  • Hammer (malleus): One of the three bones in the middle ear that transmits sound waves to the cochlea.
  • Hemianopsia: Loss of vision in half of the visual field.
  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis of one side of the body.
  • Herniation: Protrusion of tissue through an opening.
  • Heterogeneous: Composed of different cell types.
  • Homogeneous: Composed of identical cell types.
  • Hydrocephalus: An accumulation of excess fluid in the brain.
  • Hyperfractionation: Radiation treatment delivered in smaller, more frequent doses.
  • Hyperthermia: The use of heat to destroy tumor cells.
  • Hypophysis: The pituitary gland.
  • Hypotonicity: Reduced muscle tone; limp muscles.

I

  • ICP (intracranial pressure): Pressure within the skull.
  • IICP (increased intracranial pressure): Elevated pressure within the skull.
  • Immunotherapy: Treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight tumors.
  • Impedance audiometry: A test to measure how well sound waves pass through the middle ear.
  • Incus (anvil): One of the three bones in the middle ear that transmits sound waves to the cochlea.
  • Infiltrating: Tumor that penetrates surrounding tissues.
  • Informed consent: The process of explaining treatment options to ensure patient understanding and agreement.
  • Inner ear: The part of the ear that transmits sound signals to the brain and helps maintain balance.
  • Interstitial radiation therapy: The implantation of radioactive seeds directly into a tumor.
  • Intra-arterial: Injection into an artery.
  • Intracerebral: Located within the cerebral hemispheres.
  • Intracranial: Within the skull.
  • Intradural: Beneath the dura mater.
  • Intramuscular: Injection into a muscle.
  • Intrathecal: Injection into the subarachnoid space of the meninges.
  • Intratumoral: Injection into a tumor.
  • Intravenous: Injection into a vein.
  • Intraventricular: Injection into a ventricle.
  • Invasive tumor: A tumor that invades healthy tissues; opposite of encapsulated.
  • Ipsilateral: Affecting the same side.
  • Irradiation: Treatment using ionizing radiation.

L

  • Labyrinthitis: A viral infection of the inner ear causing vertigo.
  • Laser: A device that produces intense heat and power to destroy cells.
  • Local: Confined to one specific area.
  • Lumbar puncture: A procedure to withdraw spinal fluid or inject substances into the subarachnoid space.

M

  • Macula: A part of the inner ear that contains sensory cells for detecting head position.
  • Malignant: Cancerous and life-threatening.
  • Malleus (hammer): One of the three bones in the middle ear that transmits sound waves to the cochlea.
  • Mannitol: A medication used to reduce brain swelling.
  • Mass effect: Brain damage due to the bulk of a tumor or fluid accumulation.
  • Mastoid: The bone that houses the ear mechanism.
  • Mastoiditis: An infection of the mastoid bone.
  • Membrane: A thin layer of tissue covering a surface or dividing spaces.
  • Meniere’s disease: A condition with episodes of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.
  • Metastasize: The spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
  • Middle ear: The part of the ear between the eardrum and the inner ear, containing three small bones.
  • Monoclonal antibodies (MAB): Antibodies designed to target specific cells, often used in cancer treatment.
  • MRI scan: Imaging that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the body.
  • Mutate: A change in the genetic material of a cell.
  • Myringotomy: A surgical procedure to drain fluid from the middle ear.

N

  • Necrosis: Dead tissue within a tumor.
  • Neoplasm: A new and abnormal growth of tissue, either benign or malignant.
  • Nerve loss deafness: Hearing loss due to inner ear problems.
  • Nervous system: The integrated system of nerve tissue, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
  • Neuron: A nerve cell that conducts electrical signals.
  • Nuclear medicine: The medical use of radioisotopes for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Nystagmus: Rapid, involuntary eye movements.

O

  • Ommaya reservoir: A device implanted under the scalp for administering medication directly to the brain.
  • Oncogene: Genetic material with the potential to cause cancer.
  • Oncogenesis: The formation and development of tumors.
  • Organ of corti: The structure in the cochlea that contains hair cells to transmit sound signals to the brain.
  • Ossicles: The three small bones in the middle ear (hammer, anvil, and stirrup).
  • Otitis media: Infection of the middle ear.
  • Otoliths: Particles in the inner ear that help detect gravity and movement.
  • Otology: The branch of medicine that focuses on ear diseases.
  • Otorhinolaryngologist: A medical specialist who treats ear, nose, and throat disorders (ENT specialist).
  • Otosclerosis: A condition causing conductive hearing loss due to abnormal bone growth in the middle ear.
  • Otoscope: A device used by doctors to look into the ears.
  • Outer ear: The external part of the ear that collects sound waves, consisting of the pinna and ear canal.
  • Oval window: A membrane separating the middle ear from the inner ear, transmitting sound to the cochlea.

P

  • Palsy: Complete paralysis.
  • Papilledema: Swelling of the optic nerve due to increased intracranial pressure.
  • Paresis: Partial paralysis or weakness.
  • Paresthesia: Abnormal sensations such as tingling or burning.
  • Perilymph: Fluid that fills the outer tubes of the cochlea.
  • PET scan: Imaging that uses radioactive substances to measure brain activity.
  • Phenobarbital: A medication used to control seizures.
  • Photodynamic radiation therapy: Treatment using a light-sensitive drug activated by a special light to kill tumor cells.
  • Pinna (auricle): The outer, visible part of the ear.
  • PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor): A type of malignant brain tumor.
  • Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss.
  • Primary brain tumor: A tumor that originates in the brain.
  • Primitive: Undeveloped or early-stage tissue.
  • Prognosis: A prediction of the likely outcome of a disease.
  • Proto-oncogenes: Normal genes that can become oncogenes through mutation.
  • Proximal: Located close to a reference point.

R

  • Radiation therapy: The use of ionizing radiation to treat tumors.
  • Radioresistant: Tumors that are resistant to radiation therapy.
  • Radiosensitive: Tumors that respond well to radiation therapy.
  • Recurrence: The return of a disease or its symptoms.
  • Remission: The disappearance of disease symptoms.
  • Resection: Surgical removal of a tumor.
  • Residual: Remaining tumor tissue after treatment.
  • Respiration: The process of breathing.

S

  • Saccule: An inner ear structure that helps detect head position and movement.
  • Seizure: Sudden, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, causing convulsions.
  • Semicircular canal: Structures in the inner ear that help detect rotational movements.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Hearing loss due to inner ear or nerve damage.
  • Shunt: A device that drains excess cerebrospinal fluid to relieve pressure in the brain.
  • Shunt (VA): A shunt that drains fluid from the brain to the right atrium of the heart.
  • Shunt (VP): A shunt that drains fluid from the brain to the abdomen.
  • Sound wave: A vibration that travels through the air and is perceived as sound.
  • Spasticity: Increased muscle stiffness and involuntary contractions.
  • Stalk: A stem-like structure, such as the pituitary stalk.
  • Stapes (stirrup): One of the three small bones in the middle ear that transmits sound to the cochlea.
  • Stereotactic: Precise positioning in three-dimensional space for surgery or radiation.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: A technique that uses focused beams of radiation to treat tumors.
  • Strabismus: Misalignment of the eyes.
  • Subcutaneous: Beneath the skin.
  • Systemic: Affecting the entire body.

T

  • Tectorial membrane: A membrane in the cochlea that interacts with sensory hair cells to produce nerve impulses.
  • Tegretol (carbamazepine): A medication used to control seizures and pain from trigeminal neuralgia.
  • Tinnitus: Ringing or buzzing in the ears.
  • TTY: A communication device for the hearing impaired that converts text to phone signals.
  • Tumor marker: Substances in blood or other fluids that indicate the presence of a tumor.
  • Tympanoplasty: A surgical procedure to reconstruct the eardrum.
  • Tympanum (eardrum): The membrane separating the outer ear from the middle ear.

U

  • Ultrasound: Imaging technique using sound waves to visualize internal structures.

V

  • Vascular: Pertaining to blood vessels.
  • Vascularity: The blood supply of a tumor.
  • Vertigo: A sensation of spinning or movement while stationary.
  • Vestibular apparatus: The inner ear structures involved in maintaining balance.
  • Vestibular nerve: A nerve that contributes to balance.

W

  • Wave length: The distance between peaks of a sound wave.
  • White matter: Brain tissue composed of myelin-coated nerve fibers, involved in transmitting signals within the brain and spinal cord.
  • White noise: A consistent sound, like running water, that masks other noises.
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