Medical term glossary - C

This medical term glossary provides explanations in plain English of a number of technical terms you may encounter in the process of pursuing a clinical negligence claim.

Cacosmia - Abnormal smell sensations caused by brain damage.

Calcaneovalgus - A deformity of the foot causing it to bend upwards and outwards.

Calcaneum - The heel bone.

Calcaneus - A deformity of the foot causing it to bend upwards but not outwards.

Callus - Bone growing around two ends of a fractured bone while it heals.

Cancellous screw - A type of screw used to fix bone.

Canthus - The corner of the eye.

Capitate - A bone in the wrist.

Capsulitis - Inflammation of the capsule between joints.

Cardiac - Of or related to the heart.

Caries - Decay of teeth or bones.

Carpal - Of or related to the wrist.

Carpal tunnel - Space between the bones of the wrist and the membrane which conducts the median nerve.

Carpal tunnel syndrome - Entrapment of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel of the wrist.

Carpus - Wrist bones.

Cartilage - A firm, tough connective tissue which lines articular joints.

Catharsis - Cleansing the bowels.

Cauda equina lesion - Spinal disc rupture causing trapping of nerves.

Causalgia - Nerve damage causing intense continuing burning pain.

Cephalic - Of or relating to the head.

Cerebral - Of or relating to the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid - Fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebrovascular accident - Stroke.

Cervical - Of or relating to the neck.

Cervical plexus - A bundle of nerves on each side of the upper cervical spine.

Cervical spondylosis - Degeneration of bones and joints of the neck caused by arthritis.

Cholecystectomy - Gall bladder removal.

Chondral - Of or relating to cartilage.

Chondromalacia - Thinning and softening of cartilage.

Chronic - Symptoms which slowly develop and last for a long period of time.

Cicatrix - Scar.

Circumduction - The circular movement of a limb.

Claudication - Insufficient blood circulation causing muscle pain.

Clavicle - Collar bone.

Closed fracture - Fracture of a bone with skin intact.

Coccydynia - Pain in the area of the coccyx (tailbone).

Coccyx - Tailbone at the base of the spine.

Cognition - Complex brain functions such as memory and conscious thought.

Colitis - Inflammation of the colon.

Colles' fracture - Fracture to the lower end of the radius (forearm bone).

Colon - Large intestine

Colposcopy - Inspection of the cervix using a microscope.

Coma - Deep state of unconsciousness lasting for an extended period of time. Inability to wake a person from a coma may cause death.

Comminuted - Severe break of a bone into several pieces.

Compound fracture - ‘Open’ fracture where the skin is broken.

Concussion - Head injury causing temporary loss of some brain function.

Condyle - Bulge found at the end of some bones.

Congenital - Present at birth.

Contralateral - On the opposite side of the body.

Contusion - Bruising.

Cordectomy - Removal of a vocal chord.

Corneal reflex - Blinking caused by contact with the cornea.

Coronoid process - Bulge towards the top of one of the forearm bones.

Corpus callosum - Nerves which connect the two hemispheres of the brain.

Cortex - Outer part of an organ or bone.

Cortical screw - A type of screw used for fixing bone.

Cortical atrophy - Thinning of the tissue surrounding the brain.

Costal - Of or relating to the ribs.

Coxa - Hip.

Coxarthrosis - Osteoarthritis of the hip.

Crepitations - Congestion or inflammation of the lungs causing a crackling noise.

Crepitus - Friction between bones. Often caused by the movement of an arthritic joint.

Crural - Of or relating to the leg or thigh.

Cubitus - Elbow.

Cyanosis - Blue tinged skin caused by insufficient oxygen in the blood.

Cyclitis - Inflamed eye.

Cycloplegia - Paralysed eye.

Cyst - Pooled fluid enclosed by fibrous lining.

Cystic duct - Drainage channel between the gall bladder and the upper bowel.

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