How to Match Suffixes in Medical Terminology to Situations

By Beverley Henderson, Jennifer Lee Dorsey

Medical terminology can seem confusing, but is a little easier to follow if you can match suffixes to situations. Let’s start with the place closest to you: your own body.

In your body

  • Acrophobia: Fear of heights

  • Anemia: Low hemoglobin in blood

  • Apnea: Condition of not breathing

  • Cardiomegaly: Enlargement of the heart

  • Claustrophobia: Fear of enclosed or small area

  • Colostomy: Artificial opening into the colon

  • Diarrhea: Frequent flow of watery or loose stools

  • Dysphagia: Painful or difficult eating (or swallowing)

  • Dyspnea: Difficult or painful breathing

  • Erythrocytes: Red blood cells

  • Gastrodynia: Stomach pain or discomfort

  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis of one side of body

  • Hemorrhage: Excessive flow of blood

  • Hepatomegaly: Enlargement of the liver

  • Hepatosplenomegaly: Enlargement of the liver and spleen

  • Hyperemesis: Excessive vomiting

  • Ileostomy: Artificial opening into the ileum

  • Leukemia: Blood condition of white blood cells

  • Leukocytes: White blood cells

  • Menorrhea: Heavy menstrual period

  • Myalgia: Muscle pain

  • Nephrosis: Kidney condition

  • Orthopnea: Inability to breathe properly except in an upright position

  • Osteopenia: Deficiency in bone mass

  • Photophobia: Visual intolerance of light

  • Quadriplegia: Paralysis of all four quadrants of the body

  • Splenomegaly: Enlargement of the spleen

  • Tracheostomy: Artificial opening into the trachea; follows a tracheotomy

In the doctor’s office and hospital

  • Abdominoplasty: Plastic surgery on the abdomen

  • Amniocentesis: Procedure to withdraw fluid from amniotic sac during pregnancy

  • Appendectomy: Surgical removal of appendix

  • Bronchoscope: Instrument used to perform a bronchoscopy

  • Cardiogram: Hard copy record of cardiography

  • Cardiograph: Machine used to perform a cardiography

  • Cardiography: Process of recording activity of the heart

  • Herniorrhaphy: Surgical fixation or repair of a hernia

  • Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of uterus

  • Laparoscope: Instrument used to perform a laparoscopy

  • Laparotomy: Cutting into the abdomen

  • Mammography: Process of examination of breast tissue

  • Myorrhaphy: Suture or fixation of a muscle

  • Myorrhexis: Suturing of a ruptured muscle

  • Nasoplasty: Repair of deviated nasal septum

  • Osteotomy: Cutting into bone

  • Psychologist: Person who studies psychology

  • Rhinoplasty: Nose job

  • Tracheotomy: Cutting into the trachea

  • Urethropexy: Surgical fixation of the urethra