List of surgical procedures

Surgical procedures have long and possibly daunting names. The meaning of many surgical procedure names can often be understood if the name is broken into parts. For example in splenectomy, "ectomy" is a suffix meaning the removal of a part of the body. "Splene-" means spleen. Thus, splenectomy refers to the surgical removal of the spleen (or sections thereof). "otomy" means to cut into a part of the body; a splenotomy would be to cut into, but not necessarily remove, the spleen.

The field of minimally invasive surgery has spawned another set of words, such as arthroscopic or laparoscopic surgery. These take the same form as above; an arthroscope is a device which allows the inside of the joint to be seen.

See also: Surgical procedures

List of surgical term roots


  • angio- : related to blood vessels
  • arthr- : related to a joint
  • bi- : two
  • colpo- : related to the vagina
  • encephal- : related to the brain
  • hepat- : related to the liver
  • hyster- : related to the uterus
  • lapar- : related to the abdominal cavity
    • Etymology actually refers to soft, fleshy part of abdominal wall. The term celio- is probably more accurate and used in America.
  • lobo- : related to a lobe (of the brain or lungs)
  • mammo- and masto-: related to the breast
  • myo- : related to muscle tissue
  • nephro- : related to the kidney
  • oophor- : related to the ovary
  • orchid- : related to the testicle
  • vas- : related to a duct, usually the vas deferens
  • lamino- : related to vertebrae intervertebral disc
  • gastro- : related to stomach
  • colono- : related to large intestine colon
  • cysto- : related to the bladder


  • -centesis : surgical puncture
  • -desis : fusion of two parts into one, stabilization
  • -ectomy : surgical removal (see List of -ectomies). The term 'resection' is also used, especially when referring to a tumor.
  • -oid : similar to
  • -opsy : looking at
  • -oscopy : viewing of, normally with a scope
  • -ostomy or -stomy : surgically creating a hole (a new "mouth" or "stoma")
  • -otomy or -tomy : surgical incision (see List of -otomies)
  • -pexy : to fix or secure
  • -plasty : to modify or reshape (sometimes entails replacement with a prosthesis)
  • -rrhapy : to strengthen, usually with suture
  • -graphy : recording or representation of a specified thing

List of surgical procedures

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