Review Notes DETAILS


Every medical term has a root word.
A medical term may also have a prefix or a suffix, or both

ROOTS => base word elements that refer to the main body of a medical word
PREFIX => word element comes before the root word element
SUFFIX =>word element comes after the root word element

Example: hemigastrectomy = > surgical removal of half of the stomach

hemi = prefix
gastro = root
ectomy = suffix

Prefix + Root + Suffix => Medical Term
hemi + gastr + ectomy = hemigastrectomy

half + stomach + surgical removal => surgical removal of half the stomach

Note that not every medical term contains a prefix.

Example: Arthroplasty

Root + Suffix => Medical Term
Arthr/o + plasty = > Arthroplasty
Joint + Repair = > surgical repair of the joint


  • ectomy is a suffix. It means “to cut out” (remove). Example: appendectomy, tonsillectomy
  • otomy or -tomy is a suffix. It means “incision into an organ”. Example is gastrotomy (opening into the stomach )
  • oscopy is a suffix. is ‘visual examination of an organ or joint’. Examples: laparoscopy ( visual examination of organs in the abdomen ). Arthroscopy is the visual examination of a joint (think of telescope or microscope)
  • rrhaphy is a suffix. It means to “strengthen or repair” “surgical suture” Example: herniorrhaphy: surgical repair of a hernia by means of sutures
  • plasty is a suffix. It means repair or restoration of a part or function. Example: Tympanoplasty refers to reconstruction of the ear drum so sound waves can be sent to the middle and inner ear (think of plastic surgery)
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