Basic Word Structure
Medical terms can be divided into two to four parts. Even if a word is unfamiliar to, you figure out the meaning by knowing what each part mean.
Important Elements of Medical Terms
Root: Foundation of the Term
Suffix: Word Ending
Prefix: Word Beginning
Combining Vowel: Vowel (Usually O) that links the root to the suffix or the root to another root.
How to Read Medical Terms
You should read medical terms starting from the suffix and returning to the beginning of the word.
EPI: Prefix Meaning “Above”
GASTR: Root Meaning “Stomach”
IC: Suffix Meaning “Pertaining To”
Medical Terminology Rules for Combining Vowels
Drop the Combining Vowel before a Suffix that Begins with a Vowel.
Keep the Combining Vowel Between two Roots, Even if Second Root Begins with a Vowel.
Root #2: ENTER/O
Combining Forms with Medical Terminology
A combining form is the combination of a root with a combining vowel.
Example: ARTHR/O “ARTHR” is the root, and the “O” is the combining vowel. “O” is the most frequently used combining vowel.
CARCIN/O: CANCEROUS, CANCER
CIS/O: TO CUT
CRIN/O: TO SECRETE, TO FORM, TO GIVE OFF
ENTER/O: INTESTINES (USUALLY THE SMALL INTESTINE)
GYNEC/O: WOMAN, FEMALE
LATR/O: TREATMENT< PHYSICIAN
LOG/O: STUDY OF
SECT/O: TO CUT
THROMBO/O: CLOT, CLOTTING
UR/O: URNINARY TRACT, URINE
This was a Basic Medial Terminology Introductory Lesson
This was a quick glimpse into helping you identify roots, suffixes, prefixes, combining vowels, and combining forms that make up medical terms.
- Penn Foster offers two programs that can be beneficial for those interested or currently working in the healthcare field. ICD-10 Training for ICD-9 Coders is a shorter certificate program that focuses solely on teaching skills needed to process ICD-10 codes.