Prefixes Used in Medical Coding/Billing

Medical coders and billers use prefixes which are common in the medical field, knowing them is essential. A prefix refers to the beginning segment of the word. The prefix of the word often is the first clue about which body part or which area the procedure relates to.

Some examples of prefixes are arthr(o)- (joint), hemi- (half), cardi- (heart), and bronch- (air, airway). When you see a word beginning with arthro- (for example, arthroscopy), you know that it has something to do with the joint. Similarly, bronchoscopy has something to do with the airway. Here are listed some of the more common prefixes.

Prefix Meaning Prefix Meaning
a- Absent or lack of hyper- Above
ab- Away from hypo- Under
abdomino- Referring to the abdomen hyster- Pertaining to the uterus
alb- White inter- Among
ad- Away from intra- Inside
angi- Pertaining to vessels leuko- White
ante- Before macro- Large
anti- Against micro- Small
arthr(o)- Joint my(o)- Muscle
aud- Hearing necro- Dead
auto- Self neo- New
brady- Slow nephro- Kidney
bronch- Air, airway neuro- Nerve
calc- Stone osteo- Bone
cardi- Heart path- Disease
cerebro- Brain sarc- Flesh
chondr- Cartilage sub- Under
circum- Around super- Above
derm- Skin teno- Tendon
dys- Painful, difficult tachy- Fast
entero- Intestine thrombo- Clot
gastro- Of the stomach trans- Across
hemi- Half trich- Hair
hepat- Liver
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