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Suffixes Used in Medical Coding/Billing

The terms you encounter in the medical coding/billing world have to end somehow, and that happens with a suffix, which has a special meaning all its own. Knowing their meanings are essential to a medical coder or biller’s job. Suffixes describe condition or action.

For example, -scopy means to use an instrument to view. Therefore, you know that the word arthroscopy refers to looking into the joint with a scope (the prefix arthro- refers to the joint), and bronchoscopy refers to looking into the airway (bronch- means “air”) with a scope.

Here are listed common suffixes and their meanings.

Suffix Meaning Suffix Meaning
-algia Pain -ostomy Opening
-asis Condition or state of -pathy Disease
-cide Destroy -penia Deficiency
-coele Swelling or cavity -pexy Fixation
-desis Bind together -phasia Speaking
-ectomy Surgical removal -pheresis Removal
-emia Blood condition -plasia Formation or development
-genic Producing -plasty Surgical repair
-gram A recording -rhaphy Surgical suture repair
-graph A recording instrument -scopy Use of an instrument for viewing
-ia Abnormal state -stenosis Narrowing
-itis Inflammation -stomy Opening
-lysis Destruction -tomy Cutting operation
-malacia Softening -version Turning
-otomy Surgical opening
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