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Glossary - C

 

cage, fusion: A hollow titanium cylinder or box,  that holds two vertebrae in place and carries bone graft material in its interior.

 

cancellous bone:  The loose, open, lattice of bony material within the center of many bones.

 

carbon fiber: Material used in aeronautics and increasingly in medicine, that provides a hard, lightweight structure.

 

carotid artery: One of the main arteries running up the neck and into the face and brain. 

 

carpal tunnel: A structure within the wrist that carries the tendons and the nerves into the hand from the forearm.

 

carpal tunnel syndrome: A compression at the wrist, that causes a pinch of the median nerve affecting the thumb, 2nd and 3rd fingers of the hand.

 

CAT scanning: X-ray based system for producing cross-sectional images for medical examination.

 

catheter: A tube used for delivery of fluids or withdrawing fluids.

 

caudal: Towards the lower end of the body.

 

caudal epidural: An injection into the epidural space placed through the sacrum.

 

causalgia: A nerve-based pain associated with nerve or bodily injury.

 

cell saver: A machine that aspirates blood lost during surgery and cleans it for re-transfusion back into the patient's body.

 

central canal: The central portion of the vertebral column in which the spinal cord is found.

 

central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord.

 

central pain: Pain that is based primarily in abnormal function within the spinal cord or brain.

 

cerebellar tonsils: The lowest end of the brain that may, in some conditions, extend through the level of the foramen magnum.

 

cerebellum: A posterior and low portion of the brain involved in the smooth coordination of movement.

 

cerebral cortex: The upper, superior covering over the brain involved in higher level integration and thought.

 

cerebral palsy: An associated condition with birth in which abnormal levels of spasticity prevent normal limb movement.

 

cerebrospinal fluid: A clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.

 

cervical: Associated with the neck.

 

cervical spine: The vertebrae in the neck.

 

cervical plate: A titanium device used to secure and hold cervical vertebrae in place during the time that they are fusing after a surgery.

 

chelator: A chemical that removes metal ions from solution.

 

chest tube: A catheter tube placed through the chest wall to help re-inflate a collapsed lung.

 

chiropractic: A process of manipulation of the vertebrae and spine to achieve relief of pain or muscle spasm.

 

chyle: A fluid produced in the digestive tract and that carries nutrients from digestion up the thoracic duct and into the neck it flows into the venous system.

 

claudication: Leg pain with walking, associated either with inadequate blood supply to the legs or circumferential compression of the spinal canal.

 

clotting factors: Chemicals in the blood that allow the blood to form clots and halt bleeding. 

 

coblation: A heat-based process for evaporating disc material.

 

coccyx: The lowest portion of the spine.

 

cohort study: A research evaluation of a spinal technique, that follows a large number of patients with similar conditions to assess the affect of different treatments.

 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy): Type of paint that does not respond to the usual medications and that involves the autonomic nervous system.

 

compression stockings: Stockings worn to prevent the pooling of blood in the veins and to reduce the risk of deep vein clots (thrombosis) in the legs.

 

concordant: The experience of pain during a disc injection procedure, implying that the pain is similar to the pain the patient usually experiences from their condition.

 

consent form:  Statement of understanding by the patient of the nature of a medical intervention giving the permission for the treating physician to proceed.

 

contrast agent:  An injected material that helps distinguish the appearance of two or more tissues during radiological imaging tests.

 

cortical bone:  The hard outer aspect of bone.

 

cortical responses:  Electrical activity on the surface of the brain (cerebral cortex) detected by an evoked potential monitoring system.

 

costovertebral:  The area of the thoracic spine where the rib meets the vertebra.

 

Cox II inhibitors:  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications that are less irritating to the stomach than the routine nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

 

CPT:  Current procedural terminology.  A code system for providing a numerical description of the various components of medical care.

 

cranial:  Towards the head or associated with the skull.

 

cranium:  The skull.

 

cubital tunnel:  An area in the distal humerus (upper arm bone) through which the ulnar nerve passes as it crosses the elbow.  In general, the area of the "funny bone."

 

cyst:  An abnormal enclosed fluid space within the body.