Abdominal hysterectomy – surgical removal of the uterus performed by entry through the abdominal wall.

Abdominal myomectomy – surgical removal (excision) of a fibroid through a surgical incision in the abdominal wall.

Asymptomatic – presenting no symptoms of disease.

Body mass index (BMI) – a measure of body fat: the ratio of the weight of the body in kilograms divided by the square of its height in meters; a BMI of 25–29.9 indicates overweight; BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity.

Calcification – abnormal deposition of calcium salts within a tissue.

Catheter – a tubular medical device inserted into vessels, canals, or body cavities to inject or withdraw fluids or to keep a passage open.

Centigrade – a thermometer scale in which the freezing point of water is 0 degrees and the boiling point of water is 100 degrees (also Celsius).

Centimeter – a unit of length equal to 1/100 of a meter; approximately 0.4 inches.

Cervix – the narrow lower or outer end of the uterus.

Conception (conceiving) – the process of becoming pregnant.

Conscious sedation – an induced state of sedation with minimally depressed consciousness; the patient is able to respond to verbal commands and physical stimuli.

Connective tissue – tissue consisting of cells and protein fibers embedded in a ground substance that supports and binds together other tissues; connective tissue includes fat, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.

CT imaging – a method for viewing the body in sections or “slices” constructed by computed tomography; also called a CAT scan.

Defecation – discharge of feces; having a bowel movement.

Diagnosis – the act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.

Embolization – a process in which pellets are introduced into the circulatory system in order to block specific blood vessels.

Endoscopic procedure – a procedure that uses a flexible or rigid instrument to visualize the inside of a hollow organ or part for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes; an endoscope typically has one or more channels that allow the passage of instruments such as forceps or scissors.

Estrogen – one of several steroids secreted mainly by the ovaries that promote the growth and maintenance of female characteristics and the reproductive system; also, synthetic steroids that mimic the effects of natural estrogens.

FDA (Food & Drug Administration) – a consumer protection agency of the U.S. government that oversees food, drugs, animal food, cosmetics, dietary supplements, biological goods, blood products, and medical devices.

Femoral artery – the main artery in the anterior (front) surface of the thigh.

Fibroids – benign tumors, especially of the uterine wall, consisting of fibrous and muscular tissue.

Focal point – the point at which rays of light, heat, or sound converge or intersect.

Focused Ultrasound – the process of using heat from sound waves to kill bodily tissue, as in the destruction of a uterine fibroid.

Foley catheter – a catheter with an inflatable balloon tip for retention in the bladder.

GnRH – gonadotropin-releasing hormone; a hormone that stimulates part of the pituitary to release hormones that affect the reproductive system.

GnRH agonists – chemical substances with the same effect typically produced by GnRH.

Gonadotropin – a hormone whose release is stimulated by GnRH; two (Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating hormone (FSH) are secreted by the pituitary gland in a cyclic fashion that governs the menstrual cycle; a third (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, or hCG) it is secreted by the placenta during pregnancy, is found in the urine and blood of pregnant women, and used medically to induce ovulation.

Groin – the fold or depression where the lower abdomen meets the inner part of the thigh.

Hysterectomy – surgical removal of the uterus

Incision – a cut or wound of body tissue made especially in surgery.

Intramural (fibroids) – fibroid tumors located within the muscular walls of the uterus.

IUD – intrauterine device; a device inserted and left in the uterus to prevent conception.

IV line — an apparats used to administer a fluid (medication, blood, or nutrients) intravenously.

Laparoscopic myomectomy – surgical excision (cutting out) of a fibroid, with the use of a viewing device inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall to see inside the body cavity.

Leiomyoma (plural: leiomyomata) – a benign tumor, as a fibroid, consisting of smooth muscle fibers.

Medical history – a patient’s health history: diseases, surgeries, drug sensitivity, etc.

Menopause – the natural ending of menstrual periods occurring usually between 45 and 55; the time in a woman’s life when this occurs and ovarian function decreases; menopause is also caused by surgical removal of the ovaries.

Menstrual – relatng to menstruation or a woman’s monthly periods

Miscarriage – spontaneous expulsion of a fetus before it can survive, especially between the 12th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

MRgFUS – Magnetic Resonance (imaging) guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery.

Myomectomy – surgical removal (excision) of a fibroid.

Necrosis – tissue death; especially death of a portion of tissue affected by loss of blood supply, burning, or local injury.

Noninvasive – not involving entry into the body by incision or inserting a medical instrument.

Oral contraceptive – birth control pill.

Osteoporosis – a condition that affects especially older women, and involves decreased bone mass and increased brittleness; osteoporosis often results from the reduction in female hormone levels at menopause.

Outpatient procedure – a medical procedure in which a patient is not hospitalized overnight, but visits a hospital, clinic, or associated facility for diagnosis or treatment.

Pap smear – a test for the early detection of cancer, especially of the uterine cervix.

Pedunculated fibroids – fibroids growing on or being attached to the uterus by a narrow stalk.

Pelvic region – the region at the lower extent of the abdomen, surrounded by the hip bones and “tail bone” (sacrum and coccyx); the reproductive organs, urinary bladder, and lower colon and rectum are located here.

Postmenopausal – occurring after menopause.

Progesterone – a female steroid hormone that prepares the uterine lining for pregnancy and maintains pregnancy when it occurs; a synthetic steroid with similar functions.

Radiologist – a physician specializing in the use of radiant energy for diagnosis and therapy.

Reproductive potential – the ability to conceive and bear children.

Sedation – induction of a relaxed easy state by the use of sedatives.

Smooth muscle – type of muscle tissue found in thin sheets in hollow organs and structures like blood vessels, the small intestine, bladder, or uterus; smooth muscle is not under voluntary control.

Submucosal (fibroids) – fibroids located directly beneath the mucous membrane lining the uterine cavity; mucous membranes are rich in mucous glands, and line body passages that communicate with the exterior (as in the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive tracts).

Subserosal (fibroids) – fibroids located under the serous membrane that covers the outside of the uterus; serous membranes line body cavities or enclose organs contained in these cavities.

Supracervical hysterectomy – a hysterectomy in which the uterine cervix is not removed.

Symptomatic – showing or experiencing symptoms.

Symptom – subjective evidence of disease observed or experienced by the patient.

Thermal ablation – to remove or destroy by the use of intense heat.

UAE (uterine artery embolization) — a process in which pellets are introduced into the circulatory system to block branches of the uterine artery (such as those carrying blood to uterine fibroids, in which case the fibroid may shrink).

Ultrasound – sound vibrations with frequencies above the range of human hearing; the use of these sound vibrations for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Urinary bladder – the sac that receives urine from the kidneys and discharges it by urination; located in the pelvic region in front of the rectum.

Urination – the act of urinating; passing water.

Uterine – related to, occurring in, or part of the uterus.

Uterus – the female organ that contains and nourishes the young during development (the womb); its thick walls consist of an outer serous layer, a thick middle layer of smooth muscle, and an inner mucous layer; during pregnancy the uterus undergoes a great increase in size.

Vaginal hysterectomy – a hysterectomy in which surgical access to the uterus is through the vagina.

Most definitions quoted or adapted from the Medline PlusR Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, through the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health: