WelcomeAbout the doctorsServicesUrologyPatient infoLinksContact us
Urology : Definitions and terms


Definitions and terms

Absorbent products
Pads and garments, disposable or reusable, worn to absorb urine leakage, including shields, combination pad-pant systems, diaper-like garments, and bed pads.

A condition that occurs when blood is deficient in red blood cells, in hemoglobin, or in total volume.

A near constant condition of fear that interferes with daily functions.

Artificial urinary sphincter (AUS)
An implanted device often used to remedy complicated cases of incontinence resulting from surgery for prostate cancer, stress incontinence, trauma or congenital defects in the urinary system. The artificial sphincter has three components: a pump, a balloon reservoir, and a cuff that encircles the urethra and prevents urine from leaking out until the pump is activated.

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
Forms of fertility treatment that involve sperm retrieval and preparation to aid in the process of conception. These procedures include artificial insemination (AI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and sperm microinjection techniques.

Behavior modification techniques
Methods such as biofeedback, bladder training, electrical stimulation, habit training, pelvic muscle exercises, and prompted voiding that are used to help "retrain" the bladder and reduce the urgency to urinate.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Enlargement of the prostate associated with aging.

Benign tumor
A tumor that is not cancerous.

A condition that affects both sides of the body, or two paired organs, such as the kidneys.

The use of electrodes to help people gain awareness and control of their pelvic muscles.

A hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until it is excreted from the body.

Bladder training
A behavioral technique that teaches the patient to resist or restrain the urge to urinate and to urinate on a schedule rather than at the urge.

A prostate cancer treatment in which tiny radioactive pellets deliver 13,500-16,000 rads of radiation energy directly into the prostate gland. Performed on an outpatient basis, this is a one-time procedure with a ten-year follow-up outcome data that parallels that of radical prostatectomy.

A tube passed through the body for draining fluids or injecting them into body cavities. The tube may be made of elastic, elastic web, rubber, glass, metal, or plastic.

Insertion of a slender tube through the urethra or through the anterior abdominal wall into the bladder, urinary reservoir, or urinary conduit to allow urine drainage.

The application of chemicals to dissolve certain types of kidney stones. The chemical solution is infused into the affected area by means of a ureteral catheter in a series of treatments until the stone is dissolved. The patient's urine must be cultured regularly throughout the course of treatment to guard against urinary infection and to prevent the buildup of excessive chemical levels, particularly magnesium.

Tube (small and large intestine) that connects the stomach to the anus.

Corpora cavernosa
Two chambers that run the length of the penis and are lined with spongy tissue that fills with blood during an erection.

A waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys and expelled in urine.

Form of cancer treatment whereby probes are placed in the prostate and frozen, killing the prostatic cells.

A herniation of the bladder into the vagina 

A normally harmless lump filled with fluid or soft material that can occur in any organ or tissue.

Surgical removal of the bladder.

Insertion of a flexible scope into the urethra and then into the bladder to determine if there are any abnormalities in the bladder or lower urinary tract.

Detrusor-external sphincter dyssynergia (DESD)
A condition that results when damage to the nervous system creates a lack of coordination between the bladder and the external sphincter muscle, resulting in the inability to empty the bladder completely. A subsequent buildup of urinary pressure can lead to life-threatening urinary tract damage.

Diabetes mellitus
A common form of diabetes in which the body cannot properly store or use glucose (sugar).

A drug used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention by increasing the amount of water eliminated from the body through urine.

Ejection of semen during male orgasm.

Ejaculation retrograde
The discharge of semen into the bladder rather than through the urethra and out of the body.

Electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL)
A technique that administers shock waves through a special probe to break up small kidney stones while the patient is under general anesthesia.

The herniation of the small bowel into the vagina.

Hormone produced by the ovaries and essential for the development of female sex characteristics.

External beam radiation therapy
A treatment for prostate cancer that delivers approximately 6800-7400 rads of radiation energy to the prostate.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
A treatment that pulverizes kidney stones by projecting highly focused shock waves from outside the body. 

Habit training
A behavioral technique used to treat incontinence that schedules urination at regular intervals. Unlike bladder training, the patient does not have to delay voiding or resist the urge to urinate.

Hormonal therapy
Prostate cancer treatment that uses anti-androgens to deprive cancer cells of testosterone, reducing tumor size and inhibiting growth. Since androgen, a male hormone, is suppressed during this treatment, side effects include breast enlargement, hot flashes and loss of libido. Long-term effects may also include loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis and loss of energy. 

A painless swelling of the scrotum caused by a collection of fluid around the testicle, commonly occurring in middle-aged men.

The most common cause of stress incontinence, hypermobility occurs when the pelvic floor muscles cannot support the urethra and bladder neck, causing involuntary leakage of urine.

Excessive growth of the normal cells of an organ.

The placement of semen into a woman's uterus, cervix, or vagina.

InterStim continence control therapy
A treatment for the symptoms of an over-active bladder in which a small device implanted in the body sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerve, which controls the bladder and surrounding muscles.

Interstitial laser
A laser probe used to destroy prostatic tissue, making urination easier.

Intrinsic sphincter deficiency (ISD)
A weakening of the urethra sphincter muscles and a common cause of stress urinary incontinence.

Irritable bladder
Involuntary contractions of muscles in the bladder, which can cause lack of urinary control.

Kegel exercises Exercises
used to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, allowing for greater urinary control and less unwanted leakage.

A pair of organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity that filter the blood and create urine.

Kidney stone
A hard mass composed of substances from the urine that form in the kidneys. 

Surgery that allows a physician to view an internal organ though the use of a laparoscope, which is inserted into the body through a small incision.  Laparoscopies
are generally less invasive than traditional surgeries and require shorter recovery periods.

Laparoscopic lymph node dissection
A sampling of the pelvic lymph nodes through three small incisions in the abdomen prior to perineal prostatectomy.

The use of ultrasonic shock waves to break up stones in the urinary tract so they can easily pass from the body. 

The permanent cessation of menstrual activity, usually occurring between the ages of 40 and 58.

The spreading of a cancerous tumor to another part of the body.

Microwave (targis)
A procedure in which a catheter is placed in the bladder and positioned within the prostate. The catheter then emits microwaves through small antennae, enlarging the bladder's passageway and allowing for easier urination.

Mixed incontinence
A condition that combines both stress and urge incontinence.

The removal of an entire kidney.

Open nephrolithotomy
A procedure for removing kidney stones that is quite invasive and traumatic to the kidneys. While the patient is under deep anesthesia, the surgeon makes a large (10-20 centimeter) incision in the patient's back or abdomen, depending upon where the stone is located, and then opens either the ureter or the kidney to extract the stone. Most patients require prolonged hospitalization afterward, and recovery may take up to two months.

The surgical removal of one or both of the testicles.

Inflammation of a testicle.

Overactive bladder
The involuntary contraction of the bladder muscle during the bladder filling phase.

Overflow UI
Leakage of small amounts of urine from a bladder that is always full.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCN)
Percutaneous or "through the skin" nephrolithotomy is a procedure for the removal of kidney stones. The surgeon or urologist makes a one-centimeter incision in the patient's back and then inserts a nephroscope, which is passed directly into the kidney and, if necessary, the ureter. The doctor then manually extracts smaller stones and may use ultrasonic, electrohydraulic or laser- tipped probes to break up larger stones.

Pelvic muscle exercises
Also called Kegel exercises and used to improve pelvic muscle tone and prevent leakage in sufferers of stress urinary incontinence.

Periurethral bulking injections
A surgical procedure in which injected implants are used to "bulk up" the area around the neck of the bladder so it can withstand the abdominal pressure that often causes leakage.

Post-void residual (PVR) volume
A diagnostic test that measures how much urine remains in the bladder after urination. PVR volume can be measured by catheterization, pelvic ultrasound, radiography, or radioisotope studies.

Oxygenated, unsaturated cyclic fatty acids that have a variety of hormone-like actions, such as controlling blood pressure or smooth muscle contraction.

A walnut-sized gland that lies at the base of the penis just below the bladder and is part of the male reproductive system, supplying fluid for the sperm during ejaculation.

Surgical removal of the prostate. 

  • Suprapubic / retropubic prostatectomy The removal of obstructing prostatic tissue through a supra-pubic incision ( a cut below the belly button.) The prostate is not wholly removed. 
  • Radical retropubic prostatectomy The complete removal of prostate through an abdominal incision. Lymph nodes can be sampled at the same time. 
  • Perineal prostatectomy The complete removal of the prostate through a perineal incision, which does not affect any muscle or vital tissue, resulting in less blood loss, easier visualization of the bladder / urethral anastomosis and reduced recovery time.
Prostatic stent
A wire device inserted through a cystoscope that expands and pushes prostate tissue away from the urinary passageway, allowing for easier urination.

Inflammation of the prostate.

Also called Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy, a procedure in which a catheter with microwave-emitting antennae is placed in the bladder and positioned within the prostate, enlarging the urinary passageway and allowing for easier urination.

Pubovaginal sling
A surgical procedure in which a man-made or cadaveric piece of material is placed under the bladder neck to support and immobilize it, improving sphincter function and decreasing bladder neck movement, which improves continence.

Inflammation of the kidney, usually due to a bacterial infection.

The presence of pus in the urine; usually an indication of kidney or urinary tract infection.

A herniation of the rectum into the vagina.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Infections that are most commonly spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact.

Sling procedures
Surgical methods for treating urinary incontinence that involve the placement of a sling, made either of tissue obtained from the patient or a synthetic material, to retropubic and/or abdominal structures.

A ring of muscle fibers located around an opening in the body that regulates the passage of substances. 

Stress test
A diagnostic test during which patients lift something or perform an exercise to determine if there is urine loss when stress is placed on bladder muscles.

Stress urinary incontinence
The involuntary loss of urine when laughing, sneezing, coughing or lifting, or during other times of increased abdominal pressure.

The sex hormone produced by the testicles that stimulates the development of male sex characteristics as well as bone and muscle growth.

Transient urinary incontinence
Temporary episodes of urinary incontinence that stop when the cause of the episode is identified and treated, such as a bladder infection.

TUMT (transurethral microwave thermotherapy)
See Prostatron.

TUNA (transurethral needle ablation)
The destruction of diseased prostate tissue by administering thermal energy with an instrument that is placed into the prostate through a cystoscope.

TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate)
A surgical telescope is used to core out the inside of the prostate (urethra) creating a larger channel and making the passage of urine easier. This is the gold standard for treatment of BPH.

Ultrasonic lithotripsy
A method of breaking up kidney stones using high-frequency ultrasound waves administered through an optical scope and electronic probe, which is inserted into the ureter. The stone's fragments are then passed naturally by the patient or removed by grasping forceps, basket extraction or suction through the scope instrument.

Underactive bladder
A bladder that doesn't contract hard enough or long enough to fully empty in a normal timespan. There are many causes of this condition including certain drugs, fecal impaction, neurologic conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, lower spinal cord injury, radical pelvic surgery, or as the result of the weakening of the detrusor muscle from vitamin B12 deficiency. Bladder underactivity may cause overdistension of the bladder, resulting in overflow incontinence.

Often used to extract kidney stones; a flexible, fiberoptic instrument resembling a long, thin telescope is inserted through the urethra and bladder to view the ureter.

Urge urinary incontinence
The involuntary loss of urine associated with a sudden and strong urge to urinate.

A strong desire to void.

A group of physical and chemical tests used to check urine samples for various disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract.

Urinary incontinence (UI)
Involuntary and problematic loss of urine.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Infections caused by bacteria that invade the urinary system and multiply.

Urodynamic tests
Diagnostic tests that examine bladder and urethral sphincter function.

Vesica sling procedure
A surgical procedure used to stabilize the bladder neck and provide support for the urethra using autologous or synthetic sling material. This procedure treats both hypermobility and ISD.

A mass of enlarged veins that develops in the spermatic cord leading from the testicles to the circulatory system, often leading to infertility.

The cutting away of a varicocele.

Varicocele embolization
An outpatient procedure in which a balloon catheter, steel coil, and/or sclerosing (vessel-hardening) solution is used to close off the varicocele.

A minor surgical procedure to cut and close off the tubes (vas deferens) that deliver sperm from the testes, usually performed as a means of contraception. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and causes few complications and no change in sexual function. About 500,000 vasectomies are performed annually in the United States.

A microsurgical procedure that uses a microscopic camera and very small operative tools to correct obstructions in the genital tract.

A vasectomy reversal or the re-connection of the severed ends of the vas deferens, restoring the flow of sperm.

A type of cautery electrode that vaporizes prostatic tissue, creating a larger prostatic channel and making urination easier.

Definitions based on information provided by HealthCommunities.com

©2003- 2019 Maine Urology Assocciates. All Rights Reserved. Site design and content by J Group Advertising
Site developed and hosted by sephone internet solutions.