Medical terminology is a set of words that are used to describe specific medical concepts and procedures. It is composed of word roots, prefixes, and suffixes that come from Latin and Greek. The root of a medical term often refers to the body part or system being addressed. The prefix or suffix can provide additional information about the procedure or condition. Understanding medical terminology is critical for healthcare professionals and patients alike, as it helps to clearly communicate and understand medical information.
The word root is the foundational meaning of a medical term. Roots contain the essence of the word, and they are the part to which prefixes and suffixes are added for modifying meanings. Word roots for medical terms often describe an organ, tissue, or condition.
Combining forms are the combination of word roots + combining form vowels used in order to facilitate pronunciation of a medical term.
The prefix is a word part added to the beginning of a medical term that alters the meaning of the word root. A prefix can describe the quantity, quality, location, color, direction, time, degree, or status of a word root.
The use of suffixes changes the meaning of medical terminology. It is added to the end of a medical word to typically describe procedures, conditions, functions or just to make a medical word a noun or an adjective.