Medical Terminology | White Plains Hospital

Medical Terminology


A condition affecting the ability of the esophagus to transport food to the stomach.

Barium Swallow

An x-ray that evaluates how food can move down the esophagus into the stomach. The x-ray is done while you drink special fluid known as contrast.

Barrett's Esophagus

Changes in the lining of your esophagus that if allowed to progress may become an esophageal cancer.



Bleb Or Bullae

Air blisters that can form on the lung.

Bronchogenic Cysts

Fluid filled sacs associated with your airway that can cause compression, infection, and other complications.


A bronchoscopy is when the surgeon uses a small camera to look into your airways. You are sedated for the procedure and the camera is passed through your mouth. There are no incisions associated with this procedure.

Carcinoid Tumors

Slow-growing tumors of the lung or thymus that can secrete hormones.

Cervical Mediastinoscopy

A 1-2 cm incision is made on your neck. This allows the surgeon to pass a camera along your trachea to evaluate lymph nodes in this area. You generally go home the same day. Most patients have soreness that is treated with motrin. Some patients need stronger pain medications.

Chemical Pleurodesis

The use of chemicals such as talc or doxycycline, to irritate the lining around your lungs. This is done to prevent fluid accumulation.

Chest Tube

A tube that is used to help drain fluid and air from the pleural space. These tubes can be placed at the bedside or in the operating room.

Chronic Indwelling Pleural Drainage Catheter

A small 5 mm diameter catheter that can be placed to allow intermittent removal of fluid without the inconvenience of multiple procedures.

CT guided biopsy

A sample of tissue is obtained by our board-certified interventional radiologist while you are getting a CT scan. The radiologist uses CT scan technology to help localize the best spot to get tissue from.

CT Scan

A series of x-rays are obtained and reconstructed to form 3-D images of the inside of your body.

Diaphragm Paralysis

Inability of your diaphragm to move properly during respiration.

Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)

An endobronchial ultrasound is a special bronchoscope which allows the surgeon to obtain samples of lymph nodes that are located around your trachea without making any incisions.


A collection of infected fluid between the lung and the chest wall.


A progressive disease that damages the lungs’ air sacs, restricting breathing.

Esophageal Cancer

Malignant tumor that develops in the esophagus.

Esophageal Diverticulum

An outpocketing of the esophagus.

Esophageal Manometry

A probe is used to measure the strength of your esophageal muscles.

Esophageal Stricture

A narrowing of the esophagus usually due to chronic GERD.


A surgical procedure in which the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to decrease the ability of food to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. There are several types with the most common being a Nissen fundoplication.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

A disease in which the stomach’s contents flow upward into the esophagus causing symptoms most commonly known as “heartburn”.


Collection of normal tissue that have collected in an abnormal spot.

Hiatal and Paraesophageal Hernias

Protrusion of the stomach and other abdominal contents into the chest cavity.


A malfunction of the body’s internal thermostat, resulting in excessive perspiration.


The utilization of a camera and special instruments to perform abdominal surgery via small incisions.


This is removal of a lobe of your lung. There are 5 lobes of lung in the human body. The right lung has 3 lobes (upper, middle and lower), while the left has only 2 (upper and lower). A lobectomy removes the disease and all of the lymph nodes which drain that area.

Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)

The muscle that is located on the esophagus as it meets the stomach. When functioning properly, its role is to keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus.

Lung Nodules

An abnormal collection of cells within your lung which can be benign or malignant in nature.

Lung Cancer

Abnormal growth of cells in the lung. Cancer that originates from cells in the lung is known as primary lung cancer.

Lymph Nodes

Glands that are part of the immune system that are found throughout the human body. They can get enlarged for a variety of reasons from benign to malignant.


Enlarge or swollen lymph nodes.



Malignant Pleural Effusion

Abnormal levels of liquid in the lining of the lung causing the lung to be compressed. Malignant effusions are a result of cancer.


Abnormal collection of tissue. Can be interchanged with the word nodule. It does not denote benign or malignant. It can be either.

Mechanical pleurodesis

The irritation of the lining of your lung with instruments. This is usually done in patients with recurrent pneumothoraces.

Mediastinal Tumors

Benign or cancerous growths within the central chest cavity.

Metastatic Nodules in the Lung

When cancer cells travel from another organ, they can land in the lung and start to grow. This is known as a secondary lung cancer or metastasis.


A special radiographic study that uses magnets to evaluate structures in your body.

Myasthenia Gravis

An immune system disorder that causes motor dysfunction which can result in problems including difficulty swallowing and speaking.

Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

There are 2 general categories of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

PET Scan

A special test in which a machine analyses how much sugar different parts of your body utilizes. Sugar uptake can indicate active cells such as those that are fighting an infection or those that have cancer.

Pleural Effusion

A collection of fluid in the pleural space. It may be related to infection or cancerous causes.

Pleural Space

The area between the lungs and the rib cage. Fluid and air can collect in this space.


Removal of the lining around your lung. This is usually done in patients with recurrent pneumothoraces.


A surgical technique in which a chemical is placed in the chest or mechanical irritation is performed to cause scarring and elimination of the space where fluid can collect.


This is removal of an entire lung. The removal of the whole lung may be necessary in some cancer cases. Many people can live on one lung. Many people who live on one lung are able to return to their daily routine. Prior to having a pneumonectomy, we will order several tests to help predict your post-surgical lung function. Some of these test include pulmonary function tests and ventilation-perfusion scans.


When air is present between the lungs and chest wall, resulting in breathing difficulties and lung collapse.

Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTS)

This is a breathing test that is done in your pulmonologists office which can access you overall lung function.


Disease in which a collection of inflammatory cells collect to form nodules. Theses nodules can form in a variety of organs including the lung.


This is removal of a portion of your lung based on blood supply. Less lung is removed with this technique than a lobectomy. Patients who have poor lung function may benefit from a surgery such as a segmentectomy which preserves lung.


A malformation resulting in partial failure of a mass of lung tissue.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are 2 general categories of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


A sternotomy is a type of incision that allows us the access to the center of your chest. Both lung cavities and the compartment between your lungs, can be visualized with this incision. This incision is used primarily for surgeries of the mediastinum, including thymoma resections.


Surgical disruption of the sympathetic chain.


A needle is placed into the chest, under local anesthesia, with the goal to remove fluid or air from the pleural space.


The utilization of a camera and special instruments to perform thoracic surgery via small incisions. This is also known as VATS.


A thoracotomy is a type of an incision that allows the surgeon to access your lungs and the cavity it lays in (thoracic cavity). It is done on the right or left side, depending on where your disease is located. Surgeries that we may use this incision for are pneumonectomy, lobectomy, segmentectomy, empyema drainage, esophagectomy and tracheal reconstructions.


Removal of the thymus gland. This can be done for wither cancer or for treatment of myasthenia gravis.


Cancer of the thymus gland.

Trapped Lung

Compression of normal lung tissue by scar tissue. Often the result of infectious or malignant pleural effusions.

Upper Esophageal Endoscopy

A camera is used to look at the lining of your esophagus to evaluate it for disease.

Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)

VATS surgery utilizes state of the art video technology to aid the surgeon in visualizing the thoracic cavity. This surgery utilizes three 1 inch incisions. One incision is used for the camera. The other 2 incisions are used by the surgeon to complete the operation. The advantages of this operation are shorter hospital stay, less pain and faster return to your daily activities. The approach to your surgery will depend on your anatomy and characteristics of your disease. Surgeries that are not amenable to VATS will be performed via a thoracotomy or sternotomy.

Wedge Resection

This is removal of a portion of your lung. In general, less lung is removed with this procedure than a segmentectomy or lobectomy. However, only certain diseases are amenable to this surgery.