Otolaryngology Glossary | Laryngology Glossary

Hearing & Balance Center

Auditory nerve – bundle of nerve fibers that carry electrical impulses between the inner ear and the brain

Auditory canal – also called the ear canal, it conducts sound toward the eardrum

Cochlea – part of the inner ear, contains fluid and hair-like nerve cells that convert mechanical energy from the middle ear into electrical impulses

Conductive hearing loss – any hearing loss caused by damage or disease in the outer or middle ears

Eustachian tube – a tube that extends from the middle ear to the roof of the throat; it keeps the air pressure in the middle ear consistent with the air pressure in the immediate environment

Incus – the anvil shaped bone; middle bone of the ossicular chain (the three tiny bones that connect the eardrum and the inner ear)

Inner ear – part of the ear that contains the cochlea, an organ of hearing, and the labyrinth, an organ of balance

Mastoid – the section of the skull located behind the outer ear that houses the middle and inner ears

Malleus – the hammer shaped bone; outermost of the ossicles, the three tiny bones that connect the eardrum and inner ear

Middle ear – the air-containing cavity of the ear; lying between the eardrum and the inner ear, it includes the eardrum and the ossicles, which are the three tiny bones called malleus, incus and stapes

Ossicles – a linkage of three tiny bones - the malleus, incus and stapes, also known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup; they provide the mechanical coupling between the eardrum and the cochlea

Outer ear – the part of the ear that captures sound; it is composed of the visible parts of the ear and the canal leading to the eardrum

Pinna, or auricle – the portion of the ear that is visible from the outside, made up of cartilage and skin; it funnels sound into the ear canal and protects the rest of the ear

Semicircular canals – the body's balance organs, they detect the body's movement and communicate its position to the brain

Sensorineural hearing loss – hearing loss caused by damage or disease in the inner ear

Stapes – the stirrup-shaped ossicle that transmits sound from the incus to the cochlea; the innermost of the ossicles

Temporal bone – the temporal bones form part of the base of the skull; among the hardest of all the bones, it includes the mastoid and protects the hearing and balance systems

Tinnitus – the sensation of a ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ears or head; it is often associated with many forms of hearing impairment and noise exposure

Tympanic membrane – also called the eardrum, it separates the ear canal from the middle ear, vibrating when sound waves hit it

Vertigo – a false sensation of motion or spinning that leads to dizziness and discomfort

Head & Neck Surgery Center

Aerodigestive tract – combined airway and food passages

Anaplastic thyroid cancer – highly aggressive type of thyroid cancer; thankfully rare

CT scans – computerized X-Ray often used for diagnosis of head and neck tumors

Endocrinologist – non-surgeon medical doctor specializing in glands

Endoscopy – evaluation of any area using lighted telescope; it can be flexible or rigid

Erythroplakia – red discoloration of tissue

Esophagus – food pipe that extends from the pharynx to stomach

Fine needle aspiration – placement of fine needle into tissues to obtain cells which are then reviewed for diagnosis

Follicular thyroid cancer – second most common cancer of the thyroid gland

Hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid gland

Hemithyroidectomy – surgical procedure that removes half of thyroid gland

Larynx – voice box

Laryngoscope – lighted telescope used to visualize the larynx or voice box; either flexible (fiber optic) or rigid (open tune)

Medullary thyroid cancer – third most common cancer of thyroid, may have hereditary component

MRI – computerized imaging technique using magnetic waves rather than radiation

Mucosa – lining of body tubes

Oral cavity – mouth

Oropharynx – posterior part of oral cavity

Papillary thyroid cancer – most common type of thyroid cancer

Parathyroid adenoma – benign tumor of parathyroid gland, usually affecting one to four glands and causes elevated calcium levels

Parathyroid hyperplasia – overgrowth of all (four) parathyroid glands, also causes elevated calcium levels

PET scans – computerized imaging uses glucose metabolism to identify tumors

PET/CT scans – combination of PET scanning with CT scanning to better identify tumors

Pharynx – area of throat between oral cavity and vocal cords

Sestamibi scan – imaging technique used to isolate overactive parathyroid gland or glands

Squamous cell carcinoma – common tumor of upper aerodigestive tract; causally-related to smoking and drinking

Thyroid adenomas – benign tumor of thyroid gland

Thyroid goiters – large, multi-cystic thyroid gland

Trachea – windpipe

Facial Plastics Center

Blepharoplasty – Surgery of the eyelids in which fat and excess skin, bags, pouches, wrinkles in the eye area are removed

Botulinum Toxin Botox® – Injected to relax facial muscles temporarily to eliminate wrinkles for three to six months

Cheek / Chin Augmentation – Surgery where implants are placed in the cheeks or chin to improve bone structure, balance a profile, or support sagging, soft tissues

Chin Augmentation – See Cheek / Chin Augmentation

Chemical Peels – Resurfacing of the skin with an acid solution that peels the top layers and allows smoother, regenerated skin to emerge; an effective treatment for wrinkles caused by sun damage, mild scarring, and certain types of acne

Collagen Implant – An injection of natural protein, which raises skin tissue to smooth the skin and make wrinkles and scars appear less visible

Dermabrasion – A facial sanding technique used to treat deep scars and wrinkles, raised scar tissue, and some severe cases of cystic acne; top layers of skin are "sanded" off with a high-speed rotating brush or a diamond-coated wheel

Facial Reconstruction – Surgery to repair or reconstruct facial features in victims of cancer, facial trauma, and birth defects

Filler Injections – Most commonly collagen - a gel like substance derived from purified animal tissue, and fat - which is harvested from the patient's thigh or abdomen and then injected to plump up facial areas or "fill" wrinkled areas (see also Botox)

Browlift/Forehead Lift – Surgery to minimize forehead lines and wrinkles, and to elevate brows to reduce lid drooping

Forehead Lift – see Browlift/Forehead Lift

Liposuction – Surgery to reduce excess fatty deposits

Mentoplasty – Surgery to balance a profile by enlarging, reducing, or reshaping the chin

Microdermabrasion – A mini-peeling with minimal risk of dyspigmentation or scarring that is achieved by projecting aluminum micro-crystals onto the skin (also referred as the "Power Peel," "Euro Peel", "Parisian Peel" or "Derma Peel"); safe for all skin types

Otoplasty – Surgery of the ear in which protruding or deformed ears can be "pinned back" by reshaping the cartilage

Rhinoplasty – Aesthetic surgery of the nose in which cartilage and bone are reshaped and reconstructed; excess bone or cartilage may be removed

Rhytidectomy – Facelift surgery in which excess skin is removed and muscles are tightened

Scar Revision Surgery – Procedures to help minimize visible facial scars

Septorhinoplasty – A form of rhinoplasty that is performed to reconstruct the nasal passage or to relieve obstructions inside the nose to correct breathing problems; the obstruction is removed through internal incisions and the interior of the nose is restructured

Skin Resurfacing – Removal of the outer layer of the skin using abrasion, chemicals, or a laser, resulting in smoother and less wrinkled skin