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Glossary - U to V

 

ulceration:  Breakdown of tissue usually due to pressure or infection.

 

ulnar nerve:  A nerve arising in the shoulder area, passing around the elbow, and entering the hand on the side of the small finger. It is responsible for sensory innervation of the fourth and fifth fingers, as well as for movement of most of the small muscles of the hand.

 

ultrasound:  A type of imaging system that uses sound and echoes to produce a picture of deep tissues.

 

uncovertebral joint:  A joint surface between the vertebral bodies of cervical vertebrae.

 

urinary tract infection (UTI):  An infection that develops within the bladder or urethra.

 

vena cava:  A large vein that runs towards the heart.  The superior vena cava descends from the base of the neck and inferior vena cava ascends from the pelvis.

 

ventilator:  A machine that provides controlled breathing to a person under general anesthesia or otherwise deeply unconscious.

 

ventricle:  A fluid-containing space within the brain.

 

vertebra:  A bony element of the spine.

 

vertebral artery:  An artery arising at the base of the neck and extending up to the posterior parts of the brain.  It passes through small canals in several of the cervical vertebrae.

 

vertebral body:  The anterior or front of the vertebra that carries most of the weight and that contacts directly with the intervertebral discs.

 

vertebrectomy:  The removal of a vertebral body.