Glossary A-D

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Glossary A-D


Short for “contrast media.” Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contrast, for example, between blood vessels and other tissue.


Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A more flexible kind of cartilage connects muscles with bones and makes up other parts of the body, such as the larynx and the outside parts of the ears.


That part of the central nervous system that is located within the cranium ( skull ). The brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer and distributor of information for the body. It has two (right and left) halves called “hemispheres.” The brain controls thought, memory and emotion. It sends messages to the body controlling movement, speech and senses.


The ankle joint is complex. It is made up of two joints: the true ankle joint and the subtalar join.


A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a radioopaque dye that outlines them on x-ray . This technique can be usefully used to look at arteries in many areas of the body, including the brain, neck ( carotids ), heart , aorta , chest , pulmonary circuit, kidneys , gastrointestinal tract, and limbs.


Loss of feeling or awareness. A general anesthetic puts the person to sleep . A local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body such as a tooth or an area of skin without affecting consciousness. Regional anesthesia numbs a larger part of the body such as a leg or arm, also without affecting consciousness. The term “conduction anesthesia” encompasses both local and regional anesthetic techniques. Many surgical procedures can be done with conduction anesthesia without significant pain . In many situations, such as a C-section , conduction anesthesia is safer and therefore preferable to general anesthesia. However, there are also many types of surgery in which general anesthesia is clearly appropriate.


The belly , that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis . The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm , the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.

Blood vessels

Blood vessels are the tubes in which blood travels to and from parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are veins, arteries and capillaries.


Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide. It is pumped around the body by the heart.