Urology Terms and Definitions

 

Adenocarcinoma
A malignant tumor that originates in the cells of a gland, such as the prostate gland.

 

Adjuvant Therapy
Treatment occurring immediately after the primary treatment with the purpose of increasing the probability of success.

 

Analgesic
A drug used to relieve pain.

 

Androgen
A type of hormone that controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics.

 

Angiomylipom
A benign tumor of the kidney which arises from blood vessels and fat; it may, if it grows large enough, rupture and cause bleeding 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

 

Anti-Androgen
A substance that tends to inhibit the production, activity, or effects of a male sex hormone, typically preventing the growth of prostate cancer cells.

 

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

 

Balantis
Inflammation of the foreskin or the tip of the penis

 

Benign
Non-cancerous tumors that do not travel to the lymph nodes or distant tissues.

 

Biopsy
The removal and examination of a sample of tissue for diagnostic purposes.

 

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

 

Calcium Oxalate
The most common constituent of kidney stones and the type of stone which 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 rubber or silicone tube passed into the bladder to drain urine

 

Chemotherapy
The use of drugs to treat cancer

 

Chordee
A deformity of the penis which 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

 

Cystectomy
Surgical removal of the bladder, usually for invasive cancer

 

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

 

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

 

CT
Computerized tomography; a form of X-ray where slices are taken through the body to produce images at different levels

 

Cystocele (Anterior Vaginal Prolapse)
This type of prolapse occurs when the wall between the vagina and the bladder stretches or detaches from its attachment to the pelvic muscles. This loss of support allows the bladder to prolapse or fall down into the vagina.

 

Cystoscopy
Cystoscopy is a way to look at the inside of your bladder using a tiny telescope and light. Sterile fluid is then used to fill the bladder, so that your doctor can see inside. This allows your doctor to make sure that there are no abnormalities or other problems. 

 

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
A digital rectal exam is an examination of the lower rectum. The doctor uses a gloved, lubricated finger to check for abnormalities.

 

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
An androgenic hormone that is thought to be responsible for the development of male sexual functions.

 

Dilation
Stretching or widening of an opening, usually the urethra or neck of the bladder

 

Diverticulum
An abnormal pouch leading off the cavity of a hollow organ

 

Dysuria
Painful passage of urine

 

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

 

Epididymis
The sperm-carrying tube lying behind the testis which carries sperms from the testis to the vas deferens during ejaculation

 

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

 

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

 

Ejaculation
The discharge of semen from the penis usually accompanied by orgasm.

 

Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
The inability to achieve or maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual relations to engage in sexual intercourse. May be referred to as impotence.

 

Erection
The state of swelling, hardness, and stiffness due to increased filling of the penis during sexual excitement.

 

Extravasation
Leakage of urine or surgical irrigation fluid outside the urinary tract

 

External Beam Radiation (EBR)
A form of radiation therapy where radiation is delivered by a machine pointed at the specific area to be radiated. May be referred to as external beam radiation (EBR, XBR) or external beam radiation therapy (EBRT, XBRT).

 

Fistula
An abnormal passageway between two organs in the body or between an organ and the exterior of the body. It is an uncommon complication of some prostate cancer treatments.

 

Free PSA (fPSA)
A prostate specific antigen (PSA) is either bound to protein or unbound (“free”). Risk of prostate cancer can be further evaluated by measuring both forms.

 

Frequency
The need to urinate many times a day. This can be caused by a prostate problem in men.

 

Gleason Score (GS)
A grading system used to help evaluate the aggressiveness and prognosis of men with prostate cancer. It is based on a 2 to 10 scale, the higher the score the more likely cancer cells will or have spread.

 

Grade/Grading
A means for providing information about the probable growth rate of a tumor and its likelihood of spreading. See Gleason Score.

 

Hematospermia
Blood in the semen during ejaculation

 

Hematuria
Blood in the urine

 

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

 

Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer (HRPC)
Prostate cancer that is resistant to hormone therapy.

 

Hormone Therapy (HT)
Treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones using surgery, injections or tablets.

 

Hydrocele
An abnormal collection of fluid in the naturally-occurring sac which surrounds the testicle

 

Immunotherapy
Treatment of cancer by stimulating the natural immune response

 

Impotency
The inability to achieve or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse. Also referred to as erectile dysfunction.

 

Incomplete Bladder Emptying
The inability to completely void the bladder during urination.

 

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
A type of radiation therapy that uses 3-dimensional images to show the size and shape of the tumor to better focus therapy towards the cancer. This type of radiation therapy minimizes the damage to healthy tissue next to the tumor.

 

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

 

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

 

Laparoscopy
A technique of surgery that utilizes a camera and scope and specialized instruments that allow the surgeon to use small incisions (about half an inch long) to perform surgery that would otherwise require larger incisions. This type of surgery often offers the patients a quicker recovery with less pain than surgery with larger incisions.

 

Libido
Desire or interest in sexual activity. Prostate cancer diagnosis and its treatment can affect this.

 

Lithotripsy
Breaking up of a stone; usually synonymous with ESWL

 

Lithopaxy
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

 

Malignant
A medical term used to describe a cancerous tumer that has the ability to spread.

 

Marker
A tumor marker is a substance found in the blood, urine, or body tissues. There are many different tumors markers, each indicative of a particular disease process, and they are used in oncology to help detect the presence of cancer.

 

Metastasis
A secondary tumor (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 characterize tissues by the way the electrons in the tissue move in response to a strong magnetic field

 

Nephron
The microscopic filtering unit in the kidney which filters water and waste products from the blood

 

Neoadjuvant
Preliminary cancer therapy, usually chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which precedes a necessary second type of treatment modality of treatment.

 

Nerve Sparing
A surgical technique during a radical prostatectomy where one or both of the neurovascular bundles, a term applied to the body nerves, arteries, veins and lymphatics that tend to travel together in the body controlling erections, are not cut or severed. The aim of this technique is to avoid damaging the nerves that help control erections and continence.

 

Nocturia
The need to urinate at night, thus interrupting sleep.

 

Nocturnal Enuresis
Incontinence of urine at night usually considered synonymous with bedwetting

 

Oncologist
A doctor who specializes in cancer treatment.

 

Orchiectomy
A type of hormone therapy for prostate cancer where one or both testicles are surgically removed to reduce testosterone, may also be done for treatment of testicular cancer.

 

Overactive Bladder
Refers to any of the following conditions: Frequency (more than 8 voids in each 24 hours) Urgency (a powerful urge to urinate, which is difficult to put off) Nocturia (waking up twice or more at night to urinate) Urge incontinence (leakage of urine associated with an urge to urinate, or not making it to the bathroom in time)

 

Overactive Bladder
Refers to any of the following conditions:

  • Frequency (more than 8 voids in each 24 hours)
  • Urgency (a powerful urge to urinate, that is difficult to put off)
  • Nocturia (waking up twice or more at night to urinate)
  • Urge incontinence (leakage of urine associated with an urge to urinate, or not making it to the bathroom in time)
     

Palliative Care
Form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.

 

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

 

Pathologist
Physician who reads surgery slides.

 

Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost resulting in “sagging” or dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and rectum. As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina.

 

Pelvis
The lower portion of the abdomen located between the hip bones.

 

Perineum
The area between the anus and the genitals.

 

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

 

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

 

Prostate
A gland of the male reproductive system that produces a seminal fluid.

 

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
An enzyme present in very small amounts in men that helps to liquefy semen. It is produced by the prostate and is found in higher amounts in the blood or men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

 

Prostatitis
Infection or inflammation of the prostate gland

 

Prosthesis
An artificial implant used to replace any part of the body (e.g. a testicle)

 

Quality of Life Management
A measure of a person’s overall satisfaction with life and their ability to successful cope with the full range of challenges associated with the pain and symptoms after a particular treatment.

 

Radical Perianal Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. It is used to treat cancer that is localized within the prostate gland. The incision is made in the perineum, midway between rectum and scrotum.

 

Radical Retro-pubic Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. It is used to treat cancer that is localized within the prostate gland. The incision is made in the lower abdomen.

 

Recurrence
Cancer that has returned after treatment.

 

Robotic Prostatectomy
Laparoscopic prostatectomy, when it is carried out with the assistance of a robot. Laparoscopic robotic arms are controlled by a surgeon.

 

Robotic Surgery
This includes the use of the da Vinci surgical system to perform laparascopic surgery. Robotic surgery can be used in gynecology to treat fibroids, abnormal periods, endometriosis, ovarian tumors, pelvic prolapse, and female cancers. Using the robotic system, gynecologists can perform hysterectomies, myomectomies, and lymph node biopsies. Robotic surgery is used in urology to remove the prostate gland for cancer, repair or removal of kidneys and repair bladder abnormalities.

 

Semen
Fluid discharged at ejaculation in the male. It consists of sperm from the testes and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.

 

Seminal Vesicle
A pair of simple tubular glands that secrete significant proportions of the fluid that ultimately becomes semen.

 

Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM)
A validated questionnaire designed to help you and your health care provider identify if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction and if you are, to what degree.

 

Sphincter (Urinary)
A collective name for the muscles surrounding the urethra used to control the flow of urine from the urinary bladder.

 

Stage, Staging
The extent of which cancer has spread throughout the body.

 

Steroid
A type of drug used to control swelling and inflammation.

 

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
It is the loss of small amounts of urine associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus increase pressure on the bladder. It is not uncommon after prostate surgery.

 

Testostrone
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 tumor (T), the lymph nodes (N) and metastases (M)

 

Transitional Cell Carcinoma
A malignant (cancerous) tumor arising from the internal lining of the urinary tract

 

TURP
Transurethral resection of the prostate

 

TURBT
Transurethral resection of bladder tumor

 

Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
A procedure used to formulate an image of internal body tissue. It involves the insertion of a sound-wave emitting probe into the rectum (also called an endorectal ultrasound).

 

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

 

Ureter
The tube carrying urine to the bladder from the kidney.

 

Uretetoscopy
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

 

Urgency
A sudden, irresistible desire to pass urine

 

Urinary Bladder
The organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys prior to urination.

 

Urinary Incontinence
Any unintentional or involuntary leakage of urine. It can range from a few drops to no control at all of your urine.

 

Urinary Incontinence
The involuntary loss of urine must which has a negative impact on the quality of the individual’s life, particularly for hygienic and/or social standpoints.

 

Urogynecology
The field of Urogynecology is a subspecialty within Obstetrics and Gynecology and is dedicated to the study and treatment of pelvic floor disorders in women. Urogynecologists have completed medical school and a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Urology. These doctors become specialists with additional training and experience in the evaluation and treatment of conditions that affect the female pelvic organs, and the muscles and connective tissue that support the organs. Many have completed formal fellowships (additional training after residency) that focused on the surgical and non-surgical treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic problems.

 

Urologist
A Urologist is a physician who is trained to evaluate the genitourinary tract, which includes the kidneys, urinary bladder and genital structures in men and women, and the prostate and testicles in men. The Urologist evaluates the function of these structures, the conditions and diseases that can affect them and the medical and surgical tools to optimize their function, treat the conditions and diseases of these organs.

 

Uterine Prolapse
When the supporting ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor that keep the uterus in the pelvis are damaged, the cervix and uterus descend into and eventually out of the vagina. Often, uterine prolapse is associated with loss of vaginal wall support (cystocele, rectocele).

 

Vas Deferens
A muscular tube which carries sperm from the epididymis into the urethra during   ejaculation of semen

 

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