Patients & Visitors

Urology

D11

Glossary of Urological Terms

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ADENOCARCINOMA:
A cancerous tumour developing from the glandular component of any organ (particularly the prostate or kidney)

ADRENAL GLANDS:
Small glands sitting on top of the kidneys. They produce hormones. They are often removed along with the kidney in operations for cancer

ANALGESIC:
A drug used to relieve pain

ANGIOMYOLIPOMA:
A benign tumour of the kidney arising from blood vessels and fat. If it grows large enough it can bleed into or around the kidney

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY:
A drug which reduces inflammation and helps to relieve pain; often used to treat prostatitis & the pain of kidney stones

AZOOSPERMIA:
The complete absence of sperms in ejaculated semen; one cause of male-factor infertility. Usually due to failure of production of sperms by the testis or to obstruction of the tubing along which sperms normally pass

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BALANITIS:
Inflammation of the foreskin or the tip of the penis

BLADDER:
The midline, lower abdominal organ that stores urine and then contracts at the appropriate time to empty via the urethra

BONE SCAN:
A test requiring the intravenous administration of a mildly radioactive substance which is taken up by inflamed or cancerous areas within the skeleton. It is done to look for spread of cancer to the bones. It involves a very low dose of radiation (less than a CT scan)

BPH:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia; benign enlargement of the prostate gland, invariably seen with increasing age

BRACHYTHERAPY:
A type of radiotherapy where radioactive seeds are implanted directly into an organ, usually the prostate gland

BXO:
Balanitis xerotica obliterans; a scarring disease of the foreskin, of unknown cause, which results in a tight foreskin

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CALCIUM OXALATE:
The commonest constituent of kidney stones and the type of stone that is most prone to recur

CALCULUS:
A stone, usually in the kidney or ureter, but may also occur on the prostate or bladder

CALYX:
The outermost part of the collecting system of the kidney where urine is first released for excretion

CATHETER:
A rubberised or silicone tube passed into a hollow organ (usually the bladder) to drain its contents

CHEMOTHERAPY:
The use of drugs to treat cancer

CHORDEE:
A deformity of the penis that results in a bending on erection

CYSTITIS:
Inflammation of the internal lining of the bladder

CIRCUMCISION:
Surgical removal of the foreskin, usually performed for phimosis (see below)

CT:
Computerised tomography. A form of X-ray test in which a computer interprets the result to produce detailed cross sectional images of the body

CYSTECTOMY:
Surgical removal of the bladdder, usually for invasive cancer

CYSTOCELE:
Prolapse of the bladder into the vagina

CYSTOGRAM:
An X-ray of the bladder where dye is inserted into the bladder using a catheter

CYSTOSCOPY:
Inspection of the bladder using a telescope. This can be either a flexible cystoscopy performed under local anaesthetic or a rigid cystoscopy requiring a general anaesthetic

CYTOLOGY:
The study of individual cells, usually in the urine, to identify malignancy or other disorders

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DIVERTICULUM:
An abnormal pouch leading off the cavity of a hollow organ; most commonly seen in the bladder

DRE:
Digital rectal examination; usually to feel the prostate gland

DYSURIA:
Painful passage of urine

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EBRT:
External Beam Radiotherapy; the use of radiation to treat certain cancers including prostate and bladder cancer

EMBOLISATION:
Blocking the artery to an organ by introducing foam, coils or gel under X-ray control using a small catheter placed in the artery. This is done by a specialist radiologist (X-ray doctor)

ENURESIS:
Incontinence of urine at night usually considered synonymous with bedwetting

EPIDIDYMIS:
A structure lying behind the testis which carries sperms from the testis to the vas deferens during ejaculation. Cysts can develop in this structure which occasionally need removing

EPIDIDYMITIS:
Inflammation/infection of the epididymis, often involving the testis as well (epididymo-orchitits)

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION:
Impotence; the inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for penetration and the satisfaction of both sexual partners

ESWL:
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy; shockwaves generated in water, focussed and fired through the body to fragment stones in the kidney or ureter

EXTRAVASATION:
Leakage of urine or surgical irrigation fluid outside the urinary tract

EXSTROPHY:
A congenital condition where the bladder remains on the surface of the lower abdomen open to the outside

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FLOW TEST:
Passing urine into a special machine that calculates the speed, volume and time taken for urination. Often done as part of your clinic visit

FREQUENCY:
The perception of passing urine too often

FREQUENCY VOLUME CHART:
A chart which the patient fills in over a 3 day period detailing their fluid intake and urine output including episodes of incontinence

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HAEMATOSPERMIA:
Blood in the semen during ejaculation

HAEMATURIA:
Blood in the urine requiring urgent investigation

HYDROCELE:
An abnormal collection of fluid in the naturally occurring sac which surrounds the testicle

HESITANCY:
Having to wait an abnormally long time for the flow of urine to start

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INCONTINENCE:
Involuntary leakage of urine

INTERMITTENT SELF-CATHERISATION (ISC):
Involves passing a very fine tube into the bladder 4 or 5 times a day to empty the urine. Most men find this much easier than having a catheter in permanently, and ISC is easy to learn and perform.

IVU:
Intravenous urogram; an X-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder performed using an injection of dye into a vein in the arm. This test is now very rarely performed as most patients will have a CT scan

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KIDNEY:
One of two paired organs (normally) which lie at the back of the abdomen, in front of the lower ribs, and filter the blood to produce urine

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LASER:
Light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation; an energy source for performing some types of urological surgery

LAPAROSCOPE:
A telescope with a light source and camera attached which is inserted into the abdominal cavity (through a small incision) to perform 'keyhole' surgery

LITHOTRIPSY:
Breaking up a stone. Can be done by various methods

LITHOLAPAXY:
Crushing of a stone, usually in the bladder, to reduce it to fragments small enough to be passed spontaneously or removed through an endoscope

LYMPHADENECTOMY:
Surgical removal of lymph nodes to determine whether they are involved with cancer

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METASTASIS:
A secondary tumour (remote from the original cancer) which has arisen by spread through the blood, the lymph system or by direct invasion

MRI:
Magnetic resonance imaging; a means of producing cross-sectional images of the body to characterise tissues by the way the electrons in the tissue move in response to a strong magnetic field

MSU:
Midstream Urine; a sample collected during the middle of the passage of urine and used to look for the presence of infection

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NEPHROSTOMY:
A tube inserted into the kidney through the skin in order to drain the kidney. This is done with X-ray or ultrasound to guide the insertion

NOCTURIA:
Passage of urine at night

NOCTURNAL POLYURIA:
Passing abnormally large amounts of urine at night (defined as passing more than a third of the total urine output during the night)

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PHIMOSIS:
Tightness of the foreskin, either due to a scarring disease or as a result of a congenital abnormality

PARAPHIMOSIS:
Retraction of a tight foreskin which becomes "stuck" due to an inability to return it to its original position covering the head of the penis

PCNL:
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy; the removal of stones from the kidney via a tube placed through the side under general anaesthetic

PEYRONIE'S DISEASE:
A condition arising because of penile scar tissue and causing bending of the penis when erect

POLYURIA:
Over-production of urine, usually at night; often occurs in the elderly due to poor water handling ability with increasing age

PREPUCE:
Another term for the foreskin of the penis

PROSTATE GLAND:
A chestnut-sized organ lying at the bottom of the bladder which produces chemicals to nourish sperms and facilitate their transport to the female uterus

PROSTATITIS:
Infection or inflammation of the prostate gland

PROSTHESIS:
An artifical implant used to replace any part of the body (e.g. a testicle)

PSA:
Prostate-specific antigen; a chemical released into the bloodstream by the prostate gland which may be raised in men with prostate cancer

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RADIOLOGIST:
A doctor specialising in imaging techniques (e.g. X-ray, CT, MRI). Many carry out complex procedures requiring imaging techniques (interventional radiologist)

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SEMINAL VESICLE:
A sac lying behind the prostate gland which stores seminal fluid and sperms in preparation for ejaculation. They are removed along with the prostate in a radical prostatectomy

SPINAL ANAESTHETIC:
An alternative to general anaesthetic preferred in certain urological operations. A needle is used to inject anaesthetic into the back that numbs the legs and lower abdomen allowing surgery to be performed

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TESTOSTERONE:
The main male hormone produced mainly by the testicles (and by the adrenal glands)

TNM:
A staging system for cancer which describes the extent of the primary tumour (T), the lymph nodes (N) and metastases (M)

TRANSITIONAL CELL CARCINOMA:
A malignant (cancerous) tumour arising from the internal lining of the urinary tract

TUR:
Transurethral resection, usually of the prostate gland (TURP) or of a tumour in the bladder (TURBT)

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ULTRASOUND:
High-frequency sound waves used to reflect off tissues to determine their nature

URETER:
The thin, muscular tube which propels urine down from the kidneys to the bladder

URETEROSCOPY:
Inspection of the ureter (and/or kidney) using a telescope (either flexible or rigid) with an attached light source passed into the bladder and up the ureter towards the kidney

URETHRA:
The tube through which urine passes to the outside of the body from the bladder

URODYNAMICS:
An investigation to get detailed information about bladder function. It can be used to assess the appropriateness of performing surgery in men with voiding difficulties or in patients with incontinence

URGENCY:
A sudden, irresistible desire to pass urine

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VARICOCELE:
An abnormal collection of varicose veins above the testicle, usually on the left side

VAS DEFERENS:
The tube that links the testis with the urethra for the passage of sperm. It is this tube that is divided in a vasectomy

VOIDING:
Another term for passing urine

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