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Glossary - So

 

somatic nerves:  The nerves that carry out movements and deliver conscious sensation, as distinguished from the autonomic nervous system.

 

somatic pain:  A pain arising in the body tissues, typically associated with injury or trauma to the body tissues.

 

somatosensory evoked potentials:  Electrical signals produced along the nerves and in the cerebral cortex that can be detected with electrodes, the potentials having been evoked or triggered by repeated stimulation actuated by a computer.

 

spasticity:  Increased muscle tone that causes an increased hardness or instability of muscles.

 

specific risks:  Risks of surgery that are particular to the individual type of surgery being done.

 

spina bifida aperta:  Open spina bifida in which a congenital malformation leaves a deep part of the spinal cord, such as the cord itself, exposed through the skin.

 

spina bifida occulta:  Abnormal closure of the spine or spinal membranes that is concealed within normal intact skin.

 

spinal canal:  The space between the vertebral body and the lamina through which the spinal dura and spinal cord and nerves pass.

 

spinal cord:  The portion of the central nervous system extending from the base of the brain down to the L1 or L2 level in most individuals, that includes both the gray matter for the neuron connections and the white matter of the long tracts running from the brain to the final connections that feed the nerves of the body.

 

spinal gray matter:  The area of the spinal cord that has the connections between neurons.

 

spinal nerves:  Nerves that original at the spinal foramina and continue outward to either become intercostal nerves or join the lumbar, sacral, or brachial plexuses.

 

spinal tap:  The passage of a needle into the spinal fluid inside the dura to drain fluid.

 

spinal white matter:  Long tracts of axons reaching from the brain down to the lower portions of the spinal cord.

 

spine series:  A series of X-rays in a defined set of the views that provides an assessment of the spine.

 

spinous process:  A portion of a vertebra that is in the midline and directed posteriorly towards the skin.

 

spondylo-:  A word root used to mean a vertebra.

 

spondylolisthesis:  Slippage between two vertebrae.

 

spondylolysis:  A separation or break between the lamina and the articular process of vertebra.

 

SSEP:  Somatosensory evoked potentials.

 

stem cells:  Cells in the body that have the potential to develop into various different types of tissue.

 

stenosis:  Narrowing of the spinal canal or foramina.

 

steroid:  A type of medication that mimics a natural body material and reduces inflammation.

 

sternotomy:  A surgery involving cutting the sternum from top to bottom in order to gain access to the anterior chest and heart.

 

sternum:  The large bony structure in the anterior chest to which many of the ribs connect.

 

subcuticular stitches:  Buried stitches placed below the skin to achieve a cosmetic skin closure.

 

subdural empyema:  The accumulation of infection and pus between the dura membrane and the arachnoid membrane just outside the spinal fluid space.

 

sublaminar wires:  An instrumentation in which wires are passed below the lamina to secure a rod or screw to the lamina.

 

subluxation:  Slippage between two vertebrae.

 

superficial:  Towards the skin.  Opposite of deep.

 

superior:  Towards the top or upper portion of the structure.

 

sural nerve:  A nerve on the lateral surface of the leg beginning behind the knee and reaching to the lateral surface of the foot.  The nerve is sometimes subject to biopsy to test for nerve disease or is taken to be used as a graft for nerve repairs.

 

surgical series:  A series of surgeries that are evaluated and subjected to statistical analysis to evaluate outcome.

 

surgicenter:  An outpatient facility that offers a full range of anesthesia to carry out surgical procedures.

 

sympathectomy:  The removal of sympathetic ganglia in order to attempt to treat abnormal function of the sympathetic nervous system.

 

sympathetic ganglia:  Collections of nerve connections, usually on the outer or lateral surface of the vertebral body, that help moderate and drive the autonomic nervous system.

 

sympathetic nerves:  A portion of the autonomic nervous system that travels to the skin and helps control skin temperature and color by adjusting the constriction or dilation of blood vessels.

 

syringomyelia:  The accumulation of fluid within the center of the spinal cord.

 

syrinx:  A cavity within the spinal cord typically caused by the accumulation of fluid.